When it comes to your child’s health, the information made available to parents can be simply overwhelming. One very important step to ensure the health of your child is to make sure they receive immunizations at the correct time. Whether it’s an MMR vaccine or an adolescent pertussis booster, these simple procedures are proven to save lives. To help you sort through the information and figure out what vaccines your child needs (and when), we’ve put together some current immunization schedules for kids, which you can find here:Infants and ChildrenPreteens and TeensAdults
According to the CDC’s “Recommended Immunization Schedule” for kids up to 6 years old, children may receive up to 24 vaccinations to protect them from up to 14 different diseases by the time they’re 2 years of age. While that may seem like a lot of vaccines for your child, you shouldn’t be unnecessarily concerned. After all, doctors, researchers, and many other public health experts have worked long and hard to come up with optimal vaccination schedules to give your child the best and safest protection possible. It is not advisable to skip or delay vaccines, as this will leave the child vulnerable to disease for a longer period of time.
Vaccines are highly recommended for very young children because their immune systems haven’t fully matured yet (and due to their stomachs producing less stomach acid, it is easier for ingested bacteria and viruses to multiply). This leaves them the most vulnerable to the devastating effects of many serious diseases, which is why it’s so important to start vaccinating early and on time.
When a baby is developing in the mother’s womb, it is in a relatively sterile environment. The baby’s immune system goes into action at birth — aided by antibodies carried along from the mother — as the child confronts bacteria outside of the womb for the first time. Infants begin to immediately develop an active immune response to these bacteria, an immune response that prevents these bacteria from entering the bloodstream and causing disease.
Within the first two years of life a child is typically exposed to 11 or 12 vaccines, a few of which are given over time via multiple doses. To be clear, the amount that these vaccines challenge a child’s immune system is just a drop in the ocean as compared to the thousands and thousands of environmental challenges that babies successfully manage each and every single day.
Remember, there are a few things you should discuss with your pediatrician when scheduling vaccinations, and these include:
- Whether or not your child has had an allergic reaction to a vaccination in the past or to a vaccine ingredient, such as eggs or gelatin.
- If your child has a high fever, or a history of fever after receiving a vaccination.
If you have any questions about your child’s immunizations and when they need to be scheduled, please call MacKoul Pediatrics at 239-573-2001. We can help you set an appointment to make sure your child stays up to date on their vaccinations.
For more information, be sure to take a look at the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)’s “Vaccine Recommendations” to learn more about each vaccine:http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/acip-recs/index.html