Your child is growing and adapting to his new world and so is his immune system. From the time your baby is born, his immune system is fighting off millions of germs (bacteria and viruses). Newborns may be immune to some infections because they’ve received antibodies from their mothers. But that immunity begins to fade in the first months of life, leaving the baby vulnerable to infectious diseases. This is why vaccines are so important. Some parents are concerned that their child is too young for the recommended vaccinations, but it is important to understand that if a baby is not too young to get the disease, he is not too young to get the vaccine.
While parents today may have been spared from witnessing the devastating effects of diseases such as polio, measles or pertussis that does not mean these diseases have been eradicated. In fact, each year there are disease outbreaks in communities across the United States. Most recently we have seen outbreaks of pertussis (whooping cough), measles and mumps. In 2012, there were 48,277 cases of pertussis reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including 20 pertussis-related deaths. In 2014, there were approximately 33,000 cases of pertussis, and in 2015 there were over 18,000 cases. Learn more about the dangers of infectious diseases from vaccine experts.
Diseases are just a plane ride away. In 2014, the United States experienced a record number of measles cases…667 people in 27 states. Many of the cases in the U.S. in 2014 were associated with cases brought in from the Philippines. In 2015,188 people were reported as having measles in the U.S., and almost all of those measles cases were associated with international travel. In 2016, 70 people from 16 states were reported to have measles and outbreaks continue in 2017. Throughout the years, the majority of people who got measles were unvaccinated. Travelers with measles continue to bring the disease into the U.S. If you are traveling, find out what vaccines your family may need.
The recommended childhood immunization schedule protects against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases. It prevents approximately 10.5 million cases of infectious illness per year and saves 33,000 lives in the United States alone. For the 78.6 million children born between 1994 and 2013, nearly 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths will be prevented, all thanks to childhood vaccinations. Just imagine how many more lives will be saved in years to come!
The CDC recommends vaccines for people of ALL ages. Vaccinating individual children and adults also helps protect our communities, especially those people who cannot be immunized (children who are too young to be vaccinated, and those who can’t receive certain vaccines for medical reasons such as cancer), and the small number of people who don’t respond to a particular vaccine.
To help protect your entire family from preventable diseases, ensure everyone is up-to-date on their vaccinations.
Still need more information on the benefits of vaccines? Check out these videos from our experts.
Learn more about herd immunity.