Vaccines give parents the power to protect their children from serious diseases. One of the most important things a parent can do to protect their child’s health is getting their child vaccinated according to the recommended immunization schedule. Vaccines protect babies from 14 diseases by the time they reach 2 years of age. It is very important that babies receive all doses of each vaccine and receive each vaccination on time. After 6 months of age, CDC recommends children receive a yearly flu vaccine. Children 6 months through 8 years of age who are getting the flu vaccine for the first time should get two doses of flu vaccine, spaced at least 28 days apart. Children are also due for additional doses of vaccines between 4 and 6 years of age. If a child falls behind the recommended immunization schedule, the child’s doctor can still give vaccines to “catch up” the child before adolescence. Child care facilities, preschool programs and schools are prone to disease outbreaks. Children in these settings can easily spread illnesses to one another due to poor hand washing, not covering their coughs and sneezes, and other factors related to interacting in crowded environments.
Unvaccinated children are not only at increased risk for disease, but they can also spread disease to others in their play groups, child care centers, classroom, and communities – including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated and people who might not be able to receive certain vaccines due to cancer or other health conditions.
Vaccines give parents the safe, proven power to protect their children from 14 serious diseases.
- Vaccinating your children according to the recommended schedule is one of the best ways you can protect them from 14 harmful and potentially deadly diseases like measles and whooping cough (pertussis).
- Children who don’t receive recommended vaccines are at risk of (1) getting the disease or illness and (2) having a severe case of the disease or illness. You can’t predict or know in advance if an unvaccinated child will get a disease, nor can you predict or know how severe the illness will be or become.
- Immunization is a shared responsibility. Families, health care professionals and public health officials must work together to help protect the entire community – especially babies who are too young to be vaccinated themselves.
Most parents choose the safe, proven protection of vaccines and vaccinate their children according to the recommended immunization schedule.
- Estimates from a CDC nationally representative childhood vaccine communications poll (August 2016 online poll) suggest that almost 9 out of 10 people vaccinate according to schedule or are intending to do so.
It’s easy to think of these as diseases of the past. Most young parents in the United States have never seen the devastating effects that diseases like measles or whooping cough can have on a family or community. But the truth is they still exist.
- Many vaccine-preventable diseases are still common in many parts of the world. For example, measles is brought into the United States by unvaccinated travelers who are infected while in other countries. When measles gets into communities of unvaccinated people in the United States (such as people who refuse vaccines for religious, philosophical or personal reasons), outbreaks are more likely to occur.
- Last year’s measles outbreak in Minnesota is an example of how quickly infectious diseases can spread when they reach groups of people who aren’t vaccinated. o Since measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, the annual number of people reported to have measles ranged from a low of 37 people in 2004 to a high of 667 people from 27 states in 2014. From January 1 to March 30, 2018, 34 people from 11 states were reported to have measles.
- Outbreaks of whooping cough have also occurred in the United States over the past few years. There are many factors contributing to the recent increase in whooping cough, but getting vaccinated is the best way to help prevent whooping cough and its complications