To reassure parents who are worried about vaccinating their child, I tell them that they're always right to worry about their child. If you're not worried about your child, you're not being a good parent. But most people underestimate the risk of diseases they haven't seen in a long time, and overestimate the risk of vaccines.
- Ronald Samuels, MD, MPH, associate medical director of Children's Hospital Primary Care Center
Vaccinations are one of the great public health achievements in the United States in the last century. Smallpox and polio have been virtually eradicated, and the incidence of more than half a dozen other diseases has been significantly reduced.
However, in order to keep these diseases at bay, it's important your child receives the recommended vaccinations - for the health of your family and the general public. Despite efforts to provide vaccines to all children, many don't receive some or all of the recommended immunizations, causing them to suffer severe illness and even death from preventable diseases.
- Immunization is key to preventing disease among the general population.
- Following recommended guidelines for vaccinations can now prevent many childhood diseases.
- Although children receive the majority of the vaccinations, teens and adults also need to stay up-to-date on certain vaccinations, including tetanus and diphtheria.
- Vaccines benefit both the people who receive them, and the vulnerable, unvaccinated people around them, because the infection can no longer spread.
- Some vaccines require several doses over months or years, so make sure you record when and what vaccines your child has already received.