When a new parent looks at the list of vaccines their child will receive, especially the jam-packed first two years, you can’t blame them for feeling a little overwhelmed. Getting a shot can be intimidating for many adults, and some parents may not want to subject their children to so many jabs.
Additionally, parents may have heard or seen rumors that cast doubt about the efficacy and safety of vaccines, despite the mountains of evidence that support the importance of vaccines and the protection they provide.
When it comes to the vaccine schedule most pediatricians use, there really isn’t much room to deviate. To protect your child and your family, keeping your child up to date on their immunizations is essential.
If you’re not sure if your child is up to date on their vaccines, or if you’re ready to start immunizations for your child, come see us at Ross Bridge Medical Center Pediatrics. We’re dedicated to providing high-quality, comprehensive, coordinated, and compassionate health care to all our young patients.
In this blog, Nicolette Marak, MD, discusses why vaccinations are important, the current vaccine schedule, and when some vaccines are truly optional.
All babies are given some protection against disease from their mothers in the form of antibodies. Breastfed children have their protection for slightly longer, as antibodies can pass through breast milk.
Vaccines help your child’s immune system by giving them protection, through antibodies, against certain diseases before they’re exposed to them. These immunizations also help protect other children, as diseases have a harder time spreading from child to child.
Current vaccine schedule
At Ross Bridge Medical Center Pediatrics, we currently use the schedule approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Academy of Family Physicians. If you follow this schedule, you will help prevent your child from contracting the following diseases:
- Pneumococcal infection
- Whooping cough (pertussis)
- Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib)
- Hepatitis A and B
The bulk of the vaccine schedule occurs in the first two years. It’s also important to note that receiving multiple vaccine shots in one appointment as well as receiving combination vaccines, such as the DTap (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis), has proven to be safe. And, you should know that researchers have found no link between getting vaccines and developing autism.
When the schedule doesn’t apply
There is a narrow group of children who cannot be vaccinated, including those who are getting chemotherapy treatments and those with immune deficiencies. However, young children traveling internationally may need to receive certain vaccinations early. For example, children traveling to areas with high levels of meningitis may get the meningococcal vaccine before they reach the typical age threshold.
Finally, not all states or school systems require the full vaccination schedule we recommend. The vaccination schedule for Alabama can be found here.