Understand the vital importance of routine childhood immunizations

A delay in routine vaccinations for children – which are required for attendance at most schools, camps and daycare centers – during the pandemic has been concerning and could lead to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, the authorities said. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). warned. Christine C. Marrero, DOfamily doctor at Baptist Health Primary Careprovides the following information for parents to keep in mind regarding their children’s vacation routine.

Dr. Christine C. Marrero:

Christine C. Marrero, DO, family physician at Baptist Health Primary Care.

“An ounce of prevention is better than cure,” as the old saying goes. This year, millions of children in the United States will return to school in August. Due to the closeness of being in contact with other children, your toddler is more susceptible to infectious diseases. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, there has been increased awareness of handwashing and reducing contact that could contribute to viral transmission. However, there are other safe and effective ways to help.

In the past, children and often adults were susceptible to viruses and bacteria which could have long term consequences. Thanks to advances in science and vaccination, not only are these diseases preventable, they are also harmless.

Take, for example, measles. I have often encountered MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine hesitancy from many concerned parents. The main concern about the MMR vaccine that plagues many doctors is the rumor that the MMR vaccine causes autism. This comes from a 1998 article that was published in the Lancet medical journal which was later discredited. Despite numerous subsequent studies supporting that the MMR vaccine does not cause autism, this myth persists. MMR vaccines have proven to be very effective and safe.

However, choosing not to receive the MMR vaccine can lead to many complications for your little one. Measles infection leads to an increased risk of hospitalization, pneumonia and death. According to the CDC, 1 in 1,000 children who get measles will develop encephalitis, which is swelling of the brain that can lead to seizures, deafness, or intellectual disability.

There is also a risk of long-term complication such as subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE). Although rare, it usually develops 7 to 10 years after measles infection and is a fatal disease of the nervous system. Keeping up to date with CDC-recommended vaccinations can help prevent this and keep those around you safe, too.

As always, any questions or concerns should be discussed with your child’s pediatrician or family doctor. Parents are always welcome and encouraged to discuss the risks versus benefits of vaccination with their doctor. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the CDC are also excellent references for the proactive parent wishing to empower themselves through education and research.

Tags: Baptist Health Primary Care, childhood immunizations

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