10 Crucial Reasons Why Your Kids Should Be Vaccinated
By Eric Dorn, MD, Virtua Pediatrician
A lot of attention is on the COVID-19 vaccine and when it may be available to kids under age 12, and studies look promising that approval is coming soon. However, we can't forget the importance of other childhood vaccines.
It's never been more evident that vaccines help prevent the spread of disease and protect against dangerous complications. That's why all children should get immunizations for 14 vaccine-preventable diseases before age 2.
Here are the top 10 reasons why these vaccinations are so crucial for your kids.
You'll protect them from preventable diseases.
Younger, smaller children can get sicker than those who get a disease when they're older. In fact, your baby should get the Hepatitis B vaccine before leaving the hospital.
You'll reduce their risk of getting measles.
In April 2019, measles cases in the United States surpassed the highest number on record since the disease was declared eliminated nationwide in 2000. Most of these cases occurred in areas with low vaccination rates, similar to recent Delta-variant-related COVID outbreaks happening where vaccination rates are lower than the national average. When vaccinated, children are less likely to get measles, mumps, rubella, polio, pertussis (whooping cough), and nine other vaccine-preventable diseases.
When traveling, your baby is more likely to contract a disease, especially if he or she isn't vaccinated. If you're traveling to a high-risk area, some vaccinations can be given ahead of schedule. Given the Delta-COVID-19 variant's effect on children, it's now even more important to vaccinate them before travel because any illness would need to be evaluated and treated as a potential COVID case.
You'll minimize your child's exposure at the doctor's office.
When you follow the recommended immunization schedule, your child receives multiple vaccines at one time, which is safe. Getting a few vaccines at a time also reduces your child's exposure to germs from other people and patients in the doctor's office.
You'll reduce their risk of catching the flu.
The flu shot is recommended for all babies over six months of age from September through April. Last year's low flu rates resulted from most people in the U.S. being on lockdown or masked for most of the flu season. With the country opened up again and kids back in school, we anticipate a more active flu season.
You'll minimize side effects by following the recommended immunization schedule.
While it's never too late for children to catch up on vaccines, younger children experience fewer side effects such as localized redness, fever, and swelling.
You're preparing them for childcare services and schools.
New Jersey state law requires a minimum number of vaccinations before your child can be admitted to a preschool or childcare facility. Most likely, your child will receive the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) shot when they are 12 months old, then get a booster around age 4 before starting school.
You'll help prevent spreading diseases.
When the majority of people receive all of their immunizations, it helps everyone stay healthier. And, that's never been more in the forefront than right now. One possible COVID exposure in a family stresses everyone in the house—setting off tracing for everyone you encountered, COVID-19 testing, affecting your ability to go into work, and preventing kids from going to school for a while.
You won't put them at risk for autism.
Vaccines DON'T cause autism. The correlation between autism and vaccinations has been 100% disproven.
You'll help keep them safe.
The vaccination schedule was made to protect young people who are most prone to the serious effects of these illnesses. Vaccines are safe and effective, they protect young babies and children, and they save lives—especially during this time when our patients under age 12 can't be safeguarded yet with the COVID vaccine.
Schedule an appointment
If you're unsure if you or your child are up to date on your vaccinations, call 888-847-8823 to schedule an appointment with your child's primary care provider.
As of August 2021, children age 12 and older are eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective at preventing you and your children from getting sick and are critical to ending the COVID-19 pandemic. Talk to your child's doctor about getting the vaccine, or find the closest vaccine location to you.
Updated August 10, 2021