Vaccinating your infant isn’t something you look forward to as a parent. It’s a perfect example of bittersweet. Bitter because – well, they’re shots. Sweet because they provide protection to your little one from 14 potentially life-threatening diseases:
- Poliomyelitis (Polio)
- Influenza (Flu)
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis A
- Meningitis secondary to Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib)
- Whooping cough
- Pneumococcal disease
- Chicken pox
“Vaccines essentially train our bodies to fight off a certain disease without actually exposing ourselves to it,” said Dr. Ban Al-Sayyed, pediatric infectious disease doctor at OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois. “When you receive a vaccine, your body creates antibodies and memory cells. So if you are exposed to a disease down the road, your body will have the means to fight it off with the developed antibodies from the vaccine.”
The vaccination schedule is important
At birth, babies have immature immune systems with the exception of antibodies they receive in the womb from their mother. Those antibodies might only protect a baby from diseases for the first six months. That’s why it’s important to follow the recommended vaccination schedule from your child’s doctor.
OSF HealthCare Medical Group offices follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination schedule that has been meticulously researched and studied to give your baby the best protection again these potentially deadly diseases.
“When your child doesn’t follow the vaccination schedule, it creates a window of opportunity for him or her to contract a disease that could have been prevented by a vaccine,” Dr. Al-Sayyed said.
Benefits of vaccines far outweigh the side effects
The vaccines available today have been thoroughly tested and studied by medical professionals to make our vaccines safe and effective for our communities. According to the CDC, the United States has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in its history.
As with any medicine, vaccines can cause side effects, but they are generally very mild. The side effects can include redness or swelling at the injection site or a low-grade fever.
However, the side effects are mild compared to the side effects of vaccine-preventable diseases, like whooping cough – a severe cough that can cause breathing issues and hospitalization, especially among babies.
Like the small pox disease that was completely eliminated in 1980 by vaccines, if we continue to immunize, we will continue eliminating deadly diseases that still exist today.