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Protect Your Children: What Immunizations Do They Need?

Immunizations are an important part of childhood. They protect against serious diseases and prevent your child from getting illnesses that were once common. However, declining immunization rates around the world are causing a reappearance of diseases like measles, in some cases causing death.

Immunizations are more important than ever to protect your child from contracting these often deadly diseases. Vaccines are both safe and effective. At Sulkowski Family Medicine in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Dr. Thomas E. Sulkowski believes in the importance of childhood immunizations and offers this helpful information.

The immunizations your child needs

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determines the specific vaccines your child needs and the recommended timetable to receive them. The current list of childhood immunizations is as follows:

Birth, 1 month, and 2 months

2 months and 4 months

The DTaP vaccine is especially crucial because pertussis cases are on the rise and young children can die from pertussis.

6 months

12-15 months

In addition, at some time between 15-18 months, your child should get another DTaP immunization. And of course, we always recommend annual flu shots for all of our patients, beginning at the age of 6 months.

4-6 years old

These are just the vaccines given in early childhood. Another round of additional vaccines occurs later, around age 12, including the TDaP (a variation of the DTaP), HPV (human papillomavirus), and a meningitis vaccine.

Myths and facts about immunization

Myth: Vaccines cause autism.

Fact: This unfortunate belief was spread by a study that was found to be a hoax. Vaccines don’t cause autism in any way.

Myth: Vaccines cause the disease they’re trying to prevent.

Fact: Some vaccines are live virus vaccines, including the MMR and varicella immunizations. This means that the vaccine does carry a small amount of a significantly weakened form of the virus. However, this doesn’t mean that you actually get the measles or chickenpox from the shot.

The CDC has determined that these live virus vaccines are more effective in mounting your body’s natural defenses against the virus, making your body believe that you’ve already been exposed. This means that you’re protected against future exposures.

Myth: My child doesn’t have to be protected because other people are vaccinated.

Fact: Successful disease prevention depends on something called herd immunity. This means that the majority of a population has been immunized against a disease, with only those too sick or allergic to a vaccine left out. 

When the total number of people in a population who skip vaccination falls below a certain level, the diseases make a comeback. People who aren’t vaccinated are at high risk of contracting the viruses. We’re seeing that happen now with diseases like pertussis and measles.

Myth: These viruses aren’t that serious even if my child contracts one.

Fact: This is a particularly dangerous myth. Before immunizations became widely used, children used to routinely die or face permanent damage from these illnesses. In addition, the elderly and other people with compromised immune systems are at greater risk when these diseases return.

Immunizations are a crucial part of staying healthy throughout your life, and the foundation for a healthy life starts in childhood. Some of society’s most vulnerable members are children, and they deserve to be protected from these serious diseases. To schedule your child’s immunizations, call our Murfreesboro office at 931-253-1281 or request an appointment online.

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