It is that time of year again where fun filled summer days run out and students return to their friends and faculty in the classroom. As families prepare for the school year, we hope your children will be coming to the doctor to receive their recommended vaccinations. August is National Immunization Awareness month. Vaccinations are the most effective way to prevent serious illness in children and adults. Some life-threatening disease include measles, rubella, mumps, diphtheria, and polio.
How do they work? When a bacteria or virus enters the body, our immune system can detect that it should not be there and as a result we create antibodies to fight that invader. Vaccinations directly protect patients by stimulating the immune system to produce the antibodies to fight off life-threatening disease. Vaccinations also protect other patients indirectly by the mechanism of “Herd
Some parents are concerned about the risk of vaccinations. Some normal occurring side effects include a slight rash or redness at the site of injection. This is the immune system rushing into destroy the invader that just entered the body. Another normal side effect is fever. Our immune system increases our body temperature to make the bacteria/ virus weaker. These normal responses to a vaccination seem small compared to effect of diseases such as diphtheria, measles, and smallpox that have killed millions prior to the availability of vaccinations. With the increase in popularity with antivaccination the United States has seen reemergence of these preventable diseases that were eliminated or decreased significantly.
Vaccinations that are recommended for children between the age of 7-18 include:
- Influenza (flu)
- One shot that contains: Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Hepatitis A
We hope that as you prepare for the school year, your children getting vaccinated is on that long back to school list. We are hoping for a healthy year for students so they can stay in the classroom to reach their goals and dreams.
What is Herd Immunity?
Herd immunity is the goal of preventing the spread of contagious disease among the community to protect those who are immunocompromised. When you are immune-compromised the immune system is weakened and unable to fight off infection like a healthy individual, this makes these patients unable to get vaccinations themselves and thus dependent on others getting vaccinated. Examples of immunocompromised include pregnant women, the elderly, transplant patients, HIV/AIDS patients, and more. Vaccinations allow for herd immunity to occur in our communities to protect everyone. They directly protect those who get the vaccination, and indirectly protect those who are unable to get vaccinated (2.).
Additional Resources on Vaccinations
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Immunization Program: www.cdc.gov/vaccines
- National Foundation for Infectious Diseases: www.nfid.org
- National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: www.niaid.nih.gov
- The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine and Education Center: www.chop.edu/service/vaccine-education-center/home.html
- Drutz, Jan E., MD. “Patient Education: Why Does My Child Need Vaccines? (Beyond the Basics.” UpToDate. Wolters Kluwer, 13 June 2017. Web. 28 July 2017.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Community Immunity (“Herd Immunity”).” Vaccines.gov. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 11 May 2017. Web. 28 July 2017.