Learn About Immunization for Children
Updated on 08/15/2022
The information provided on this page is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not medical advice and should not be taken as such. Always seek the advice of your physician or other health care professional.
Immunizations are very important, especially for children. As babies, children receive antibodies from their mothers, which make them significantly less likely to contract many diseases. However, these antibodies are not permanent, and by the time they turn 1 year old, children lose this natural immunization. After that period, children are actually significantly more vulnerable, because they have such young immune systems. That is why there are so many diseases which specifically effect young children.
However, many of these diseases that target young children can be reduced or eliminated through vaccine immunizations. Most vaccines contain a small sample of the virus it is meant to protect against. By exposing a child to a tiny amount of the virus, that child’s immune system is able to adapt and develop antibodies to combat the disease. Since it is only a small amount of the virus, the germs are not strong enough to cause a full-on outbreak. Once exposed to a full version of the disease, the child is protected because of the antibodies he or she develops.
Learn About Safety Concerns for Immunizations
While many parents understand that immunizations are very important for their children, they are also worried about possible side effects. For many parents, the idea of injecting their child with a disease makes them uncomfortable, even if it is only a small strain. A lot of science has gone into creating vaccines, and part of the process involves reviewing the best time to provide vaccination for a child. Healthcare practitioners will only provide immunizations for a child when they believe that child is ready.
Another concern that parents have is possible long-term side effects from immunizations. While there are stories about children receiving side effects from immunization, there is no scientific evidence to support these claims. The American Academy of Pediatrics, Center of Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Family Physicians have all performed their own studies to determine the safety of vaccines, along with many other independent scientific and medical experts. None of them have found any negative long-term effects related to vaccine immunizations.
Learn About Consequences of Not Receiving an Immunization
One of the most common reasons that parents cite for not getting immunizations for their children is that the majority of diseases vaccines are meant to prevent are no longer present. While this is technically true, the whole entire reason that these diseases are not as common is because immunizations provide protection for children, not because they no longer exist. Unfortunately, many of these diseases are still very common in certain parts of the world. It is worth noting that there are some diseases that have actually been completely eradicated because of vaccines, with smallpox being one of the most notable examples.
It is also important to note that children with immunizations can still act as carriers for diseases. Children with immunizations still receive the virus just like normal, but they do not suffer any of the symptoms because their bodies are already prepared to protect against the diseases before doing any damage. However, other children can still receive those same germs, and if they do not have the proper immunizations, they will be unable to fight off the disease. That is why the majority of schools require students to be up-to-date with their immunizations before being enrolled. Immunizations are important, not only for protecting the child receiving the vaccination, but also everyone with whom the child interacts.
Protecting Future Generations
Another reason that immunizations are so important is because they help protect future generations, as well as the current ones. As previously mentioned, smallpox was completely eradicated, thanks to children receiving vaccinations in previous years. It is possible that even more diseases will be completely wiped out through children receiving immunizations. Even if a disease cannot be fully eradicated through vaccination, the likelihood of it occurring significantly decreases.
This is very important, as some diseases get passed on to children through their mothers at birth. There is a type of measles which is specifically passed down from parent to child. While babies are born with stronger immune systems from inheriting antibodies, they are not completely immune to diseases. In addition, the strength of those inherited antibodies is also effected by whether or not the mother received all of her immunizations when she was a child.