Immunization is one of the best ways for parents to protect their infants from serious childhood diseases. Through the use of vaccines, some diseases like small pox for example, have been eradicated from the world while others, like polio have been eliminated from many parts of the world.
During the first two years of your baby’s life, you will have to go to the pediatrician more frequently for routine check-ups and vaccinations.
Here are the top 5 reasons to vaccinate your child:
- Vaccination protects children from serious illness and complications of vaccine-preventable diseases, which can result in hospitalizations, permanent damage or even death.
- Outbreaks of preventable diseases occur when many parents decide not to vaccinate their children.
- Vaccination protects others you care about, including family members, friends, and grandparents.
- If children aren’t vaccinated, they can spread disease to other children who are too young to be vaccinated or to people with weakened immune systems. This could result in long-term complications and even death for these vulnerable people.
- Vaccines are very safe and effective. All vaccines undergo long and careful review by scientists and healthcare professionals before being licensed, in addition to a robust immunization safety monitoring system that ensures safety and effectiveness of vaccines. Organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all strongly support protecting children with recommended vaccinations.
Some questions you might have about your child’s vaccinations:
How will I know when my baby’s vaccinations are due?
Your child’s doctor will provide you with a vaccination schedule at your first visit. Vaccines work best when they are given on time, so make sure to mark your calendar with your baby’s vaccines due date. Some clinics offer a vaccine reminder service.
What if I miss a vaccination appointment?
If you missed the appointment or delayed the immunization, make a new appointment. For most vaccines, you can pick up the immunization schedule where it stopped without having to start again.
Will my baby have side effects from the injection?
A vaccine, like any medicine, can cause side effects for some babies, these include:
- Redness, swelling or tenderness at the injection site which will slowly disappear on its own
If your baby develops a fever, you can treat them with paracetamol, however avoid giving it prophylactically before vaccination as it may interfere with the immune response to the vaccine.
What if my baby is ill on the day of the appointment?
If your baby has a minor illness without a fever, such as a cold, they can still have their vaccinations. If your baby has a fever, put off the vaccination until they recover.
Finally, parents want and deserve the best of health and happiness for their children. The mission of pediatricians is to be their partners with that goal in mind.