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FAQ: Children's Vaccines

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What are the risks of not vaccinating my child?

There is no question: the risks of not vaccinating a child vastly outweigh any potentially serious long-term side effects. Let's do the math for a few illnesses:

  • If your child were to contract measles, the odds of dying would be 1 in 500, getting pneumonia 6 in 100, and getting encephalitis 1 in 1,000.
  • If your child were to contract diphtheria, the odds of dying are 1 in 20.
  • If your child were to contract tetanus, the odds of dying are 1 in 5.
  • If your child were to contract whooping cough (pertussis), the odds of dying are 1 in 100, getting pneumonia 1 in 5, and getting encephalitis 1 in 300.
  •  If infants less than 1 year of age get pertussis, half can have apneic episodes (they will stop breathing).

Yes, many of these diseases are now rare (thanks to immunizations) but they can still make a comeback, as happened with measles in England when, because of the autism scare, many parents chose not to immunize their children.

The risk/benefit ratio of immunizations is undeniable. Immunize your kids with pride. One of the greatest gifts you can provide your children is a full set of vaccinations and a healthy future.

How can I best keep track of my child's shots?

Have a specific medical book for each child. Be sure to note each immunization when it is given, along with any side effects that may have occurred.

Many states now require medical providers to report children’s vaccine records to central registries, such as in New York and Massachusetts. These programs serve as excellent resources for providers, schools, and parents.  A copy may be obtained for your references depending on the state. 

Remember that the schools will require such information, and sometimes pediatric offices misplace records or forget to document an immunization. In that case, your records may be all that can prove complete immunizations.

Should I spread out the immunizations to prevent side effects?

Since there is no reason to spread out immunizations, it is most efficient to stick to the schedule as recommended.

Having said that, if for some reason you are not persuaded that the schedule makes sense, you can discuss with your pediatric provider how best to postpone certain vaccinations.

As long as your child is eventually completely immunized, the odds are very low that the prolonged immunization schedule will actually do any harm (or, for that matter, any good).

How effective are immunizations in preventing the disease?

No immunization is 100% effective. But in case you need persuasion, have a look at these dramatic facts from the CDC. There can be no doubt: Aside from a clean water supply, vaccines are one of the greatest developments in human history:

  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine has reduced Hib cases by 98.62%.
  • In reducing the incidence of Hib, the vaccine also dramatically reduced an associated deadly meningitis.
  • Measles vaccine has reduced measles cases by 99.95%.
  • Mumps vaccine has reduced mumps cases by 99.57%.

WebMD Medical Reference

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