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April 18, 2016
National Infant Immunization Week April 16-23
Five Important Reasons to Vaccinate Your Child
You want to do what is best for your children. You know about the importance of car seats, safe sleep and other ways to protect them. But, did you know that one of the best ways to protect your children is to make sure they have all of their vaccinations?
Immunizations can save your child's life. Because of advances in medical science, your child can be protected against more diseases than ever before. Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children are no longer common in the U.S. - primarily due to safe and effective vaccines. Polio is one example of the great impact that vaccines have had in the United States. Polio was once America's most feared disease, causing death and paralysis across the country, but thanks to vaccination the United States has been polio-free since 1979.
Vaccination is very safe and effective. Vaccines are only given to children after careful review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals. Vaccine side effects are almost always mild such as redness or swelling at the site of the shot, but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and risk of injury and death from the diseases these vaccines prevent. Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare. "The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccinated are much greater than the possible side effects for almost all children," said Jiancheng Huang, Director of Public Health for Oswego County.
Immunization protects others you care about. Children in the U.S. still get vaccine-preventable diseases. In fact, we have seen resurgences of measles and whooping cough (pertussis) over the past few years. For example, in 2014, there were 667 cases of measles in 27 states, the greatest number of cases since measles was eliminated in 2000. The following year saw measles cases as well. During 2015, 147 people were part of a large, multi-state measles outbreak linked to an amusement park in California. Almost one in 10 people who became sick with measles in this outbreak were babies too young to be vaccinated. While some babies are too young to be protected by vaccination, others may not be able to receive certain vaccinations due to severe allergies, weakened immune systems from conditions like leukemia, or other reasons. To help keep them safe, it is important that you and your children who are able to get vaccinated are fully immunized. This not only protects your family, but also helps prevent the spread of these diseases to your friends and loved ones.
Immunizations can save your family time and money. A child with a vaccine-preventable disease may not be able to attend schools or daycare facilities. Some vaccine-preventable diseases can result in prolonged disabilities and can take a financial toll because of lost time at work, medical bills or long-term disability care. In contrast, getting vaccinated against these diseases is a good investment and usually covered by insurance.
Immunization protects future generations. Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago. For example, smallpox vaccination eradicated that disease worldwide. Your children don't have to get smallpox shots anymore because the disease no longer exists anywhere in the world. By vaccinating children against rubella (German measles), we have dramatically reduced the risk that pregnant women will pass this virus on to their unborn or newborn babies. "If we continue vaccinating now, and vaccinating completely, parents in the future may be able to trust that some diseases of today will no longer be around to harm their children in the future," stated Jodi Martin, Supervising Public Health Nurse for the Oswego County Health Department's Preventive Services.
Immunizations are provided every Tuesday afternoon from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Health Department's office located at 70 Bunner St., Oswego, NY. Immunizations are also given on the third Tuesday of the month at the Health Department's office in the Pulaski Courthouse, from 9 to 11 a.m. Those attending should bring their shot record and insurance cards.
For more information about the importance of infant immunization, visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines or call the Oswego County Health Department at 315-349-3547.
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