Vaccines are one of the safest and easiest ways parents can help their kids thrive during childhood and to grow up into healthy adults. In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about these valuable shots and highlight five specific shots you should ask your child’s pediatrician about at your child’s next check-up.
The Value of Routine Vaccines
While some parents may worry about vaccines and their possible side effects, vaccines are completely safe for children when administered correctly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Allergic reactions to vaccines are very rare, and many studies have shown that vaccines do not cause autism.
Additionally, parents should know that vaccines protect against about 17 communicable diseases, or acute conditions which can cause severe illness and even death. Vaccines help control the prevalence of these diseases, keeping the spread of dangerous sicknesses throughout the general population in check.
Five of the Most Common Vaccines You Should Get For Your Kids
Routine vaccination should begin right after birth. Because kids are growing and changing, they often need multiple doses of a vaccine as they grow up to receive full protection. These doses must be given at specific ages, so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics create “vaccine schedules” for pediatricians to follow. Your pediatrician will keep your child’s shot documentation as part of their electronic medical record, and as the parent, you are entitled to (and should keep a copy of) your youngster’s shot record. Daycare, schools, sports teams, and other organizations often want proof of childhood immunizations before allowing kids to participate in many activities.
Here are five of the most common immunizations that your child should get.
Influenza, or the flu, is one of the most common respiratory diseases affecting children as well as adults, and everyone (except small infants) should be vaccinated against the flu annually.
The flu vaccine should be administered beginning at six months of age. Children under 9 years old must receive two shots spaced four weeks apart. One shot fully protects those over 9 years old. Children two and older may qualify for the nasal flu spray, which is just as effective and a great option for kids scared of shots.
Rotavirus is a dangerous viral infection that causes severe gastrointestinal disease. Thankfully, the rotavirus vaccine can protect your child from this nasty disease.
For full immunity, the CDC recommends a two or three-dose series of this vaccine. The number of doses needed depends on the vaccine’s manufacturer. Shots are administered at two months, then another at four months, and the last dose at six months.
This vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, three similar viruses that cause a rash and/or swollen glands. The MMR vaccine is given to children in two doses – the first is at 12 to 15 months and the second between ages four to six.
#4 Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a communicable microorganism that causes acute liver infection. If the germ remains in the body long-term, it can lead to chronic liver disease. This vaccine is given in three doses – one right away after birth, the second at one to two months of age, and the third between six to 18 months. The third dose should be given no later than 24 weeks of age.
This paralytic virus was once a common killer of children and caused life-long disability for many who contracted the virus. Now, polio is rare due to routine vaccination, but it is still important for your child to receive this vaccination and be protected in case an outbreak occurs. Four total doses of the polio vaccine are required for full protection – one at two months, four months, six months, and the last between four to six years of age.
How to Get Vaccines for Your Child
Getting vaccines for kids simply requires making a well-child visit with a pediatrician at Westchester Pediatrics in Purchase, NY. Our board-certified pediatricians and wonderful staff adhere to the vaccine recommendations and schedule published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
If your child is behind on any of the vaccinations on this list, don’t worry – the CDC also has a vaccine catch-up schedule that our pediatricians know thoroughly. To learn more about what vaccines your child needs and when, or if you have concerns about a particular vaccine, please call us. We are here to answer all questions you have about this important preventive healthcare service for children.