“In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the small-pox, taken in the common way. I long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it; my example showing that the regret may be the same either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.”– Benjamin Franklin
At Tiger Pediatrics, we recommend immunizations according to the schedule provided by the Centers for Disease Control. Ensuring that children are up to date on their immunizations is one of the single most important things we can do as pediatricians.
What Are We Preventing?
Prior to having the vaccines we have today, parents in the United States could expect that every year:
- Polio would paralyze 10,000 children.
- Rubella would cause birth defects and mental retardation in as many as 20,000 newborns.
- Measles would infect about 4 million children, killing about 500.
- Diphtheria would be one of the most common causes of death in school-aged children.
- A bacterium called Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) would cause meningitis in 15,000 children, leaving many with permanent brain damage.
- About 16,000 children under the age of ten would be infected with hepatitis.
- Pertussis (whooping cough) would kill 8,000 infants.
- Chickenpox would infect 4 million people and cause death in 100 people.
- Dehydration caused by rotavirus gastroenteritis would kill 60 children, and nearly all children would have a mild version of the illness at some point.
Unfortunately, false claims have been made about the safety of vaccines, which has led some parents to delay immunizing their children, or to not immunize at all. A physician by the name of Andrew Wakefield in England published a study in 1998 showing a link between autism and MMR vaccine. When researchers could not reproduce the results in his study, an investigation was done revealing that Wakefield falsified data, failed to report financial conflicts of interest, and violated ethical standards in his treatment of developmentally challenged children. Sadly, this flawed study had a negative impact on parents’ choices to immunize, and a resurgence of preventable diseases occurred. Much effort has been put toward setting the record straight on vaccine safety. There is now overwhelming data to support pediatricians’ recommendations to give every vaccine at the recommended ages and intervals.
Protecting Your Child, Protecting Others
Not only are immunizations important to your own child’s health, but the protective herd immunity that is accomplished by every eligible child getting immunized could be life sparing to a child with cancer or an immunodeficiency who is not eligible to get the vaccine.
Many parents want to feel educated about the vaccines their child will be getting prior to coming in for appointments. When vaccines are given in our office, we give the parent a Vaccine Information Sheet for each immunization the child receives and we answer any questions you have. If you would like to read additional information about vaccines, these are reputable resources we recommend:
The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) website: http://www.vaccineinformation.org
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine Education Center website: http://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center#.V3FPabQ7pUQ
An App you can download from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: search “Vaccines on the Go: What You Should Know”
Vaccines and Your Child: Separating Fact from Fiction, by Dr. Paul Offit
Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All, by Dr. Paul Offit
Below is our well check schedule and the vaccines we recommend children get at each visit.
|Newborn||Hepatitis B if not given at hospital|
|24 Months||Hepatitis A|
|3 Years (Yearly visits hereafter)|
Pentacel = Dtap (diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis), Hib (Haemophilus influenza type B), and IPV (inactivated polio vaccine)
Prevnar = PCV-13 (covers 13 strains of pneumococcus bacteria)
MMR = measles, mumps, rubella
Varicella = chickenpox
Kinrix = Dtap, IPV
Tdap = tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis
Gardasil = HPV-9 (covers 9 strains of human papilloma virus), series of 3 shots
In addition to the vaccines on the schedule above, we recommend a yearly influenza vaccine at every age starting at 6 months.