As a parent, you strive to ensure the safety and well-being of your children, and you make decisions on a daily basis to ensure their safety and happiness. In recent years, as the controversy has raged on about childhood vaccines, you find yourself caught in the middle with many concerns. Five of the most common questions are answered below.
5 Common Questions About Childhood Vaccines
1. Are childhood vaccines safe?
The news has been flooded over the past decade with stories of vaccines causing ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) and other dreadful conditions in children. While this is enough to scare any parent, is there any truth to it? The CDC takes all such concerns very seriously and has conducted several studies since these allegations came to light. The result? The CDC has found no link between vaccinations and autism. It was confirmed by a 2013 study that analyzed the levels of antigens (foreign substances that trigger production of antibodies) over the first two years of a child’s life: the same amount of antigens were found in children with ASD as those without.
2. How do childhood vaccines work?
When a germ enters your body, your immune system recognizes it as a foreign antigen and creates antibodies to fight it off. Vaccines work upon this basic principle. By using a dead or weakened version of the disease, childhood vaccines introduce viruses to the kid’s immune system. Because it’s dead or weak, the antigen won’t produce any of the symptoms of the disease, but your immune system will still create the antibodies and file them away to protect you from that disease in the future.
3. Are there any side-effects?
As with any medication, there are going to be side effects. Most of the side effects of childhood vaccines are minor. These include:
- tenderness and swelling at the injection site.
4. When do I get my child vaccinated?
Vaccination schedules change from time to time, so it is good to check with your local pediatrician to see when your child’s vaccinations should be scheduled. The latest vaccination schedules can be found on the CDC website. Doctors administer most childhood vaccines between the ages of 2 months and 6 years.
5. What childhood vaccines does my kid need?
The common vaccines that your child should receive include:
- DTaP – This one vaccine wards off diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, and is given as a series of 5 shots.
- Td – This is a booster to the DTaP vaccine, which is given to children at about 10 years old.
- Rotavirus – This vaccine comes in either a 2 or 3 dose series, depending on what your doctor recommends. It protects against rotavirus, which causes diarrhea in babies and can lead to dehydration.
- IPV (inactivated poliovirus) – This vaccine is given 4 times as a shot, and prevents the painful, paralyzing condition known as polio.
- MMR – Given as 2 shots, this vaccine prevents measles, mumps, and rubella.
- Hib – This vaccine is given in a series of 3-4 shots, and protects against Haemophilus influenza type b, which can lead to meningitis and pneumonia.
- Varicella – This vaccine protects against chicken pox and is delivered in a series of 2 shots after the age of 12 months.
- HBV – Given as a series of 3 or 4 shots, the HBV vaccine protects against the hepatitis B virus, which can lead to liver damage and death.
- Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine – This vaccine, also known as PVC, protects against a common type of bacteria that causes ear infections and can lead to other, more serious, illnesses. It is given in 4 doses.
- Meningococcal vaccine (MCV4) – This vaccine protects against 4 strains of bacterial meningitis, an infection of the fluid around the spinal cord. This vaccine is delivered to children between 11 and 12 years of age.
Keeping your children safe is your first priority — and that includes protecting them from any sickness that could come along. Childhood vaccines have done a great job of keeping debilitating childhood diseases where they belong — in the past. They’re essential for protecting your children so that they can enjoy their childhood in good health.