Vaccinating will protect yourself and your children from diseases that we don’t usually see anymore, but our grandparents knew the suffering that these illnesses can cause. Today’s parents have little first-hand knowledge of vaccine-preventable diseases, and some believe the risk of vaccination outweighs the risk of disease. But the threat of vaccine-preventable diseases is very real worldwide, in the U.S. and in Oregon communities:
- In 2010, California experienced a whooping cough epidemic that included well over 8,000 reported cases and took the lives of 10 infants. In Oregon, we had 285 cases in the same year. Since 2003, four infants have died from pertussis in Oregon, ranging in age from 1 to 3 months---all too young to be fully immunized.
- Measles is a highly contagious disease that continues to arrive in the U.S. from foreign countries. In 2010, there were 61 reported cases of measles in the U.S. During the winter of 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracked cases in U.S. cities including Boston, Minneapolis and Santa Fe, as well as exposures in airports across the country. Unvaccinated people have a high risk of catching measles if exposed to the disease.
- Even diseases that are mild for many can be devastating for some families. During the 2009-10 flu season, 1,316 people in Oregon were hospitalized by influenza; 67 people died. Influenza can cause missed work and school, and can lead to serious secondary infections like pneumonia.
Stay on Schedule: Timing and spacing of vaccine doses are two important issues when it comes to immunization. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has an Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) that determines what vaccines are needed and when they should be given. The ACIP schedule is based on scientific research with patient safety the top priority.
There are two things to remember when considering the ACIP immunization schedule for your child:
- Kids should get all their needed vaccines during the same visit because it increases the likelihood that they will be fully immunized as recommended.
- Studies have shown that vaccines are as effective when given simultaneously as they are individually and carry no greater risk for adverse reactions.
Alternative schedules aren’t based on scientific research, and simply prolong the time when a child is not protected against vaccine-preventable diseases. All for one, one for all: Immunize!