Talking to your doctor about Childhood Vaccines
Vaccination is one of the most important things you can do for your child's health. Childhood vaccinations can help protect your child from 13 infections that may cause serious illness:
Before vaccines were available, many children caught these diseases. Some became deaf, paralyzed, or suffered brain damage. Children have died from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Since vaccines became available 50 years ago, they have saved more children than any other medical intervention. Thanks to vaccines, children today have a very low risk of getting these diseases. However, these diseases are not gone, and without vaccinations your child is still at risk. If people stopped vaccinating their children, the risk of these diseases would most likely increase to pre-vaccination levels. Other countries such as Ireland, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Sweden have found that when vaccination rates go down, the risk of vaccine-preventable diseases goes up dramatically. For example, in Japan, pertussis (whooping cough) vaccination began in 1947. By 1974, nearly 80% of children were receiving the pertussis vaccine and there were few cases, and no deaths due to the disease. But vaccination rates for pertussis fell within the next few years to 10%, and in 1979, there was an epidemic with more than 13,000 cases and 41 deaths.
Your child needs to receive all vaccine doses on time to get the maximum protection offered by the vaccine. Ask your child's doctor which vaccines your child needs and when they should receive them in order to get full vaccine coverage. Even missing one dose could increase your child's risk of infection. A catch-up dose may be needed if your child has missed one or more doses. It's a good idea to contact your child's doctor to ensure that your child is up to date in all the recommended vaccinations.
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