McCoy & Hiestand Attorneys at Law
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It seems more and more parents these days are questioning whether or not they should vaccinate their child. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most important questions and facts to consider when making this decision.

Why should I vaccinate my child? 

Immunization is one of the best ways parents can protect their infants from 14 serious childhood diseases before age two. Vaccinate your child according to the CDC’s recommended immunization schedule for safe, proven disease protection.

Serious and possibly deadly diseases such as measles and polio seem like a thing of the past thanks to vaccines but there has been an uptick in recent years due to mistrust of immunizations.

One example of the seriousness of vaccine-preventable diseases is the increase in whooping cough (pertussis) cases and outbreaks reported over the last few decades. More than 15,000 cases of whooping cough were reported to CDC during 2016 and this number is expected to increase. Whooping cough can be deadly, especially for babies who are too young to be protected by their own vaccination. One recent study showed that many whooping cough deaths among babies could be prevented if all babies received the first dose on time at 2 months old.

While outbreaks are uncommon in the U.S., measles is still common in many parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, and Africa. Measles is brought into the United States by unvaccinated residents and visitors who get infected when they are in other countries. Measles spreads easily, and can be serious, causing pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), and even death.

Even though the United States experiences outbreaks of some vaccine-preventable diseases, the spread of disease usually slows or stops because most people are vaccinated. If we stopped vaccinating, even the few cases we have in this country could very quickly become tens or hundreds of thousands of cases.

It’s important that children receive all doses of the vaccines according to the recommended immunization schedule. Not receiving all doses of a vaccine leaves a child vulnerable to catching serious diseases.

What vaccines does my child need?

Vaccinating your baby according to the recommended immunization schedule gives your child the best protection against 14 serious childhood illnesses, like measles and whooping cough.

The recommended immunizations will prevent numerous diseases.

  • Haemophilus influenzae type b
  • Diphtheria
  • Hepatitis A & B
  • Influenza 
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Pneumococcal disease
  • Polio
  • Rubella (German measles)
  • Tetanus (lockjaw)
  • Rotavirus
  • Varicella (chickenpox)

How will I pay for them?

Most health insurance plans cover the cost of vaccinations, but you should check with your insurance provider before going to the doctor.

If you don’t have health insurance, your child may be eligible for vaccines through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. This program provides vaccines for eligible children at no cost.

Children younger than 19 years of age are eligible for VFC vaccines if they are:

  • Medicaid-eligible
  • Uninsured
  • American Indian or Alaska Native

A child that meets one or more of the above eligibility requirements is eligible to receive VFC vaccine from a provider enrolled in the program.

Are there any side effects?

The symptoms of the diseases prevented can be very serious but the possible side effects of a vaccine are typically mild. The most common side effects are redness and swelling where the shot was given. If your child experiences this you may use a cool wet rag to reduce the soreness.

Serious side effects, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare but remember to pay extra attention to your child in the days following their immunization. If you see something that concerns you, call your child’s doctor.

How do I know the vaccines are safe?

Safety monitoring begins with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who ensures the safety and effectiveness of vaccines for the United States. Before the FDA approves, scientists and doctors evaluate the results of studies on the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness. FDA also inspects the sites where vaccines are made to make sure they follow strict manufacturing guidelines.

 

It’s important that children receive all doses of the vaccines according to the recommended immunization schedule. Not receiving all doses of a vaccine leaves a child vulnerable to catching serious diseases.

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