The Importance of Childhood Immunizations

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Importance of Childhood Immunizations

Why do we immunize our children, and is it really necessary? Today many parents will be faced with the decision about, whether to immunize their children or not because of the growing concern over their safety. We hear it on the television and see it on the internet about the risks and side effects of childhood immunizations. TV and movies are all about entertainment value, they might be based on true stories or current events, but the storylines are usually meant to reel in viewers and give them a good show and not to educate the public about the truth. And the more controversial the topic, the more viewers will likely be interested in tuning in. As for the internet, just because it is written some where online does not mean it is true. Many sites that may look perfectly professional and legitimate are often written by uneducated people and may be based more on unsubstantiated rumors, myths, and conspiracy theories rather than actual research or proven science.

Therefore, there have been a growing number of parents who choose not to immunize their children because of the risks and side effects, but are their fears led by truth? Immunizations are safe and strongly recommended by pediatricians. We put our faith in them when our children get sick so why not trust their advice on immunizing our children? Pediatricians want what is best for all children and to protect the health of children. My goal is to help parents gain a better understanding about the importance of childhood immunizations so they can make a more informed decision. However, the best information comes from the professionals, I am just passing on the trusted information I have found. Just remember after all, everyone wants what is best for his or her child.

According to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (March 2008) before vaccines where developed in the United States, many children became seriously ill or died. “Every year Polio would paralyze 10,000 children. Rubella, also known as the German Measles, caused birth defects and mental retardation in about 20,000 newborns. Measles would infect approximately 4 million children with about 3,000 deaths. Diphtheria was one of the most common causes of death in school-aged children. Haemophilus influenzae (type b) also know as Hib, would be the cause of meningitis in 15,000 children that also left many children with permanent brain damage. Last but not least, Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, led to the death of thousands of infants.” All the children that these diseases claimed the lives of or left permanently disabled could have been prevented if we had the same medical technology that we have today. Thanks to the help of doctors, medical advances, preventive measures, and the many researchers this has been possible. We should be so fortunate for these medical advancements since there are still children in other countries that are still affected by these diseases everyday. This is due to the lack of the medical technology in other parts of the world.

However, whooping cough is still a major problem today. Even though babies are immunized against Pertussis, they may not be fully protected until their third or forth dose. Studies have found that when the source of Pertussis has been identified, parents were the cause in nearly half of the infant cases. (CDC 2008) That is why the Centers for Disease Control recommends a booster for everyone 11 through 64 years of age.

In 2002, the World Health Organization, also known as WHO estimated that 1.4 million deaths among children under 5 years of age was due to diseases that could have been prevented by routine vaccination. This only represents 14% of global total mortality in children under five years of age (World Health Organization, W.H.O. 2002). [pic]

Due to advances in medical science and vaccines, many of the diseases have become eliminated. With less...
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