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 pertussis (whooping cough) epidemic that included well over 8,000 reported cases and took the lives of 10 infants. By July 21, 2014, California reported 6,710 cases. In 2012, Oregon had over 900 pertussis cases.
- Measles is a highly contagious disease that continues to arrive in the U.S. from foreign countries. As of August 2014, there have been 593 measles cases in 18 separate outbreaks in the United States. 377 of those cases occurred in an outbreak in Ohio’s Amish population. This is the highest number of cases since 2000. The previous highest number of annual cases was in 2011 with 222 reported cases. Unvaccinated people have a high risk of catching measles if exposed to the disease.
- Even diseases that are very unpleasant 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!