August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and we've teamed up with the CDC to highlight the benefits of immunization across all age groups. This week we're focusing on infants and young children, which as you know, is a topic near and dear to our hearts since each bag purchase provides 5 life-saving vaccinations to children in need. In the end, parents just want to do what's best for their children, and vaccinating them is one of the best things you can do.
We encourage genuine discussion about vaccinations, and support scientific evidence from peer-reviewed studies. That being said, a question that often comes up from parents who do want to vaccinate their kids revolves around the vaccination schedule. Isn't it a lot for a tiny baby to get so many shots at once? Can't we space them out more so that they get fewer at each appointment, but will get them all eventually? And the answer we agree with is: stick to the schedule if your child is healthy.
If your baby is immunocompromised in any way, definitely adhere to your doctor's recommendations. However, if your child is otherwise healthy, the recommended vaccine schedule is perfectly safe, and has been studied and tested to be the most effective at keeping your children free from these preventable diseases. The current schedule allows your child to be protected from 14 different diseases by age 2. And the amazing thing is that kids now vs. 30 years ago are protected from 14 diseases instead of 8, and are only inoculated with 150 bacterial and viral proteins, vs. the 3,000+ like before. The main reason why following the schedule is so important is because you never know when your baby might be exposed. There are also no known advantages to delaying, so why wait and risk getting your child sick, since most need a few dosages to be the most effective? That's even why it's recommended to give them a head start by having mom get vaccinated herself in her third trimester (more on this next week!).
With all the advances in medicine, we oftentimes forget how fortunate we are to have once rampant diseases kept at bay. More people have been taking this for granted, which is why outbreaks of measles and pertussis have popped up in the past several years. You should definitely voice any concerns you might have with your child's pediatrician and search for answers from several reputable sources. But can you really deny that vaccines aren't safe or effective when we've eradicated small pox and essentially polio? There are so many things that we want for our children--but their health comes first. Vaccinating them from birth, according to schedule, is putting them at a distinct advantage.