1) Properly vaccinating your child can save his life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the use of childhood vaccines during the last 20 years will prevent 322 million illnesses as well as 732,000 deaths. Vaccinating your child is the only way to protect him from 16 different diseases such as diphtheria, polio and meningococcal disease. Many of these diseases can lead to a number of health issues such as brain damage, paralysis and even death.
2) Vaccines give you a lifetime of protection. A variety of health professionals carefully analyze every vaccine prior to administering them to children. It is extremely rare for a child to experience any serious side effects or allergic reactions to these vaccines. Though these vaccines can cause minor discomfort, the amount of protection they provide outweighs any side effects your child may experience.
3) The costs are greater if you don’t vaccinate. Those 16 preventable diseases aren’t cheap to treat if your child is infected. In January 2015, there was a confirmed measles outbreak originating from the Disneyland amusement park in Anaheim, California. The outbreak, affecting at least 118 people, cost the public health department hundreds of thousands of dollars to contain since a single case of measles can cost more than $10,000 to treat. If these 118 individuals had been vaccinated, the cost would only be $20 per person.
4) Routine immunizations for children can lead to the decline or even elimination of infectious diseases. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, one of the most feared infectious diseases was polio, crippling 35,000 people every year in the United States. The polio vaccine was introduced in the 1960s, and the United States has stayed polio-free since 1979. Now, polio exists only in three countries. This is just one of the many benefits of staying on course with the recommended immunization schedule. If every child is immunized, our communities can be free of these highly preventable diseases.
5) Child vaccinations not only protect your child, but also protect you, your family and your community. If your child follows his immunization schedule, he is protecting others who are too ill or too young to get vaccinated. Communities may be protected and outbreaks may be prevented as long as your child stays up to date with his vaccinations.
Immunizations by Age 12
Your child should have the following vaccinations by age 12:
- DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis, by age 6): 5 doses
- Haemophilus influenzae: 4 doses
- Hepatitis A: 2-dose series
- Hepatitis B: 3 doses
- Human papillomavirus: 3-dose series
- Influenza: 1 dose every year
- Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR): 2 doses
- Meningococcal: 1 dose
- Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13): 4 doses
- Polio: 4 doses
- Rotavirus: 2–3 doses
- Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis, ages 7 and older): 1 dose
- Varicella: 2 doses