Day Care Director Explains Why Your Child’s Immunizations Need to Be Up to Date

Immunization is a regular part of most American children’s doctor visits. These shots protect people against many serious illnesses and have been a standard of medical care for decades. However, some parents choose not to immunize their children. This causes serious issues for the children, the community and the day care center or school they attend.

Why Immunize?

Immunizations, or vaccinations, are shots that give immunity against certain illnesses. Most vaccines are made of inactive or dead samples of the bacteria or virus they prevent. Immunizations have led to the almost complete ending of severe illnesses that were once considered lethal such as polio, smallpox, measles, and mumps. Children are immunized several times during their early years. Schools and day care centers need proof of immunization regularly. If every child were immunized the spread of some diseases could be ended.

Why Some Don’t Immunize

Some parents choose not to vaccinate their children. This is based on their concerns for the vaccines’ safety. Some vaccines use mercury and/or other toxic chemicals, while others give multiple vaccines in one shot. Both issues have been tenuously linked to autism, developmental delays, and epilepsy. Some cases of death have been documented. This usually happened when the child had an undetected medical condition that the vaccine worsened. Some studies have confirmed these parents’ fears but doctors deny the link between shots and illness. Jehovah’s Witnesses and some other groups abstain from vaccinations on religious grounds.

Which Shots Are Needed and When?

Before a child leaves the hospital after birth, they get the shot for Hepatitis B. Within 1-2 months, they should get a Hep B booster plus shots for DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis), HiB (Hemophilic influenza B), polio, pneumococcus, and rotavirus. At 4 and 6 months, they get boosters of the same vaccines. Between 6-23 months they will get Hep B, Polio, HiB and pneumococcus boosters, plus varicella (chicken pox) several times. At 23 months, the Hep A vaccine is added, plus MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), DTP, polio and varicella between 4-6 years.

Impacts Non-Immunized Kids Have on Others

Many immunizations are not 100{15aeb35eec840799df247626cfa6821cb9499241e90aba7a245c8546144fd8f4} effective. Children who have been immunized are actually at greater risk of catching an illness from an un-vaccinated child who has the disease. For example, a day care center with only two unvaccinated kids can see outbreaks of disease like pertussis in the double-digits in vaccinated children. Outbreaks of preventable diseases have increased in communities with large numbers of “exempters.” In a 2006 outbreak of mumps in Iowa 219 people, most of whom had had their shots, got the illness from non-immunized children from the same day care.

Having your child vaccinated is the responsible thing to do for the child and the greater community. The links between health problems and immunizations are not proven. The majority of those who get their shots have no lasting ill effects. Day care directors and school administrators must require immunization from their students in order to avoid major outbreaks of preventable disease.

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