As your child grows, they will need regular visits to their pediatrician, many of which will include vaccinations. While vaccines have been called into question by some subsets of the population, they are still vital to keeping society safe and healthy. Read on to learn how the expertise of a pediatrician can guide parents through the childhood vaccination process.
Why Are Vaccines So Important for Children?
Vaccinations are important because they strengthen the immune system and safeguard your child from viruses like influenza and polio. Vaccines introduce minute amounts of the virus into the body through a quick injection. This activates the immune system and helps it build resistance to the viral pathogen.
Also known as immunizations, vaccines promote the creation of antibodies within your immune system. Antibodies work by targeting specific pathogens and acting as a shield against infection.
Your child needs to receive regular vaccinations as they grow to protect them from a range of common illnesses. Your pediatrician will provide a vaccine timeline that includes different immunizations at specific intervals.
For example, rubella, measles, and mumps vaccinations are usually administered in the first year of life. In the teen years, your pediatrician may recommend the HPV vaccination. Getting the appropriate vaccinations at certain ages will help keep your child safe throughout various stages of their life.
Vaccines are especially important for children with underlying conditions that make them more susceptible to viruses. Children with weakened immune systems or those who are immunocompromised rely on vaccinations to protect them from infectious diseases.
Myths and Misconceptions About Vaccinations
While immunizations have been proven to reduce the spread of disease, many parents have significant skepticism about vaccines. Anything involving your child’s health should be approached with caution, which is why education and vaccine information are essential.
Many parents believe myths about vaccines that can be harmful and detrimental to their child’s health and the overall population. The following are some of the most common myths and misconceptions people have about vaccines:
Myth: Vaccinations Cause Autism
One of the most common myths about vaccines is that they increase the risk of autism in children. Over the years, numerous studies have shown no link between immunizations and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
In fact, a 2012 study by The National Academy of Medicine examined the adverse effects of eight different vaccines commonly used for children and found that there were no resulting signs of autism in any of the test subjects. If you are worried about vaccinations and autism, your pediatrician can provide more guidance and information on any possible correlations.
Myth: Vaccines Weaken the Immune System
Some people believe that vaccines are actually a detriment to the immune system and can make children more vulnerable to certain diseases. They believe natural immunity is a better way to protect children from things like the flu or COVID-19. While natural immunity can act as an added defense, vaccines only strengthen that defense. There is no evidence of vaccinations making a child more likely to fall ill.
Myth: Vaccines Are Ineffective
Another misconception about vaccines is that they are simply ineffective and, therefore, unnecessary. This idea has become increasingly prevalent with the release of the COVID-19 vaccine. Some parents feel that vaccines introduce viruses and chemicals into their child’s body for no reason because they will not prevent certain diseases.
In reality, vaccinations have been vital in reducing and, in some cases, completely eradicating harmful diseases. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, polio ran rampant through the youth of America until the first vaccination for it was created in 1955. As more children received this vaccine, polio rates dramatically decreased. Now, polio infections are virtually unheard of.
If you are concerned about the efficacy of a specific vaccine, your pediatrician can provide studies, statistics, and academic evidence to support the vaccine in question.
Finding an Expert Pediatrician for Your Child’s Vaccinations
Is your child in need of yearly immunizations? At Newport Children’s Medical Group, we provide a wide range of pediatric services, including vaccinations. Schedule an appointment with one of our pediatricians to learn more about childhood vaccines.