Many pediatricians are alarmed by the growing trend of some parents opting out of certain immunizations or developing their own immunization schedules.
“The current immunization schedule has been very carefully researched and defined by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC to provide the upmost safety and maximum protection,” said Dr. Emma Raizman, a pediatrician at the Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics office in Medina. “It is with this kind of scrutiny that vaccine recommendations are made.”
Sometimes parents choose a slower schedule because they believe the body can’t handle multiple antigens from receiving several vaccinations in a single visit. This is simply not true.
Current immunizations actually have fewer antigens than the ones today’s parents received as children. There’s also no evidence that children are more likely to have a reaction to a vaccine when they’re younger or receiving several at once.
“Infant’s immune systems are able to process the vaccines and develop immunity as well, if not better, than older children,” said Dr. Raizman. “This gives them added protection against illness in their most vulnerable period of life.”
Research has also proven that children receiving multiple vaccines are no more likely to have long-term problems, such as developmental delays, than children who receive a single vaccine at a time or an abbreviated schedule.
Here are 5 reasons why it’s important to follow the recommended immunization schedule for your child:
- Children under the age of 2 are at the greatest risk. Young children are at higher risk than older children for contracting many of these diseases and are more likely to develop serious complications from them.Pertussis or whooping cough is just one example of a disease that’s still prevalent and can lead to serious illness or even death in infants and young children. It is also highly contagious. The pertussis vaccine should be given at 2, 4, 6 and 12 months, as well as 4-5 years. Sometimes booster shots are needed later in life.
- Vaccines do not cause autism. Large scale, reliable research studies have proven time and time again that receiving vaccines, specifically the MMR vaccine, which is given at 12-15 months and again at 4-5 years, does not cause or predispose a child to autism.
- The effects of illness are far more serious than any potential side effects. Research has shown that the likelihood of having side effects from a vaccine, which are most often very mild, is roughly 15 percent (it varies by vaccine), but the consequences of contracting one of these diseases, especially for an infant, can be devastating.
- Skipping or delaying vaccines leaves your child susceptible. A modified immunization schedule means that children achieve full protection at a slower rate, which can leave them exposed to the risk of a vaccine-preventable disease.
- Preventable diseases are on the rise. Many illnesses that can be prevented with proper immunizations are making a comeback because some parents are opting out of certain immunizations or creating their own schedules. Children who have medical conditions that prevent them from getting certain vaccinations also rely on the rest of us being immunized to prevent a widespread outbreak.