Fall in Childhood Vaccinations In The U.S. Leaves Kids At Risk For Preventable Disease

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has conducted a survey to check how many kids got their necessary vaccination shots before they start going to school. It has been reported that 93% of children who were to start kindergarten were vaccinated. This number is 1% lower than last year’s number where 94% of children were vaccinated.

This means that children are more at risk of contracting serious diseases which can be prevented easily through vaccinations. These diseases include chickenpox, polio, tetanus and measles which can lead to serious complications in children and can also spread to other children too. This lack of vaccination can be attributed to fear in parents regarding vaccination as there is a huge spread of misinformation among the people regarding vaccinations.

Many of the parents started believing that it is up to the parents whether they want their children to get vaccinated or not, hence they are not following the vaccination requirements mandated by the school. This is because many parents missed doctors appointments during the initial years of the COVID-19 pandemic and thus the children missed their vaccination doses.

Vaccination For Children

There are many vaccinations which are available for children below the age of 5-6 years in order to prevent diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, polio, etc. These vaccinations include either dead bacteria or virus or weakened bacteria or virus which helps in the development of immunity in children.

If many children are vaccinated then it can also form ‘Herd Immunity’. Herd Immunity is when a large number of children are vaccinated which makes it difficult for diseases to spread from one person to another. This immunity is essential in preventing the spread of many diseases and has also resulted in the complete eradication of preventable diseases from many countries such as Polio.

Even if your country or region does not have the diseases anymore, you should still get your child vaccinated as the diseases can spread from one region to another. Childhood vaccinations are extremely important as babies are born without any immunity of their own hence making them susceptible to mild infections and diseases which can be prevented. Parents need to ensure that their children get the required amount of doses of the vaccine for each disease so that they do not contract the disease.

Immunization Schedule for Infants

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Flu Symptoms

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Vaccination Schedule For Children Before They Join Schools

The parents of newborn children should get the schedule for the vaccination from their physician and start the vaccination of their children. Some vaccinations can be administered at the birth of the children to provide them immunity against various diseases which are common in children. The vaccination schedule for children below the age of 6 years is given below in the table.

VaccineDiseaseAge For First DoseAge For Second DoseAge For Third DoseAge For Fourth Dose
HepBHepatitis BBirth1-2 Months
RV1Rotavirus2 Months4 Months
DTaPDiphtheria, Tetanus and Acellular Pertussis2 Months4 Months6 Months15-18 Months
HibHaemophilus Influenzae type B2 Months4 Months12-15 Months12-15 Months
PCV13Pneumococcal conjugate2 Months4 Months6 Months12-15 Months
IPVInactivated Poliovirus2 Months4 Months6-18 Months4-6 Years
MMRMeasles, Mumps, Rubella12-15 Months4-6 Years
VaricellaChickenpox12-15 Months4-6 Years
IIV4InfluenzaAnnual Vaccination of 1 or 2 Doses Starting at 6 Months
HepAHepatitis A12-24 Months, 2 Doses at 6 Months Interval

If you miss any of the doses then you do not need to start the course again and instead you can just go for the next dose.

Fall in Childhood Vaccinations In The U.S. Leaves Kids At Risk For Preventable Disease

Effect of COVID-19 on Vaccination of Children

Many children missed their vaccination appointments during the lockdowns after the COVID-19 outbreak. The COVID-19 vaccine which was developed after almost an year of the outbreak was surrounded by many controversies and misinformation. Because of this parents became wary regarding other vaccinations as well.

Hence they did not get their children vaccinated on time before their schools. Because of this many children in Ohio became affected by a Measles outbreak. At least 77 children were affected out of which a third of children were hospitalised. All the affected children were below the age of 5 years and this condition could have been prevented if they had received their vaccination doses. This outbreak happened because many parents refused to follow the vaccination requirements set by the schools because of the misinformation surrounding these vaccines.

The parents believe that they know what is best for their children but they are disregarding the importance of vaccination in their children. They are believing baseless rumours regarding vaccination doses and are avoiding their appointments with their doctors. This behaviour is putting their children and many children around them at the risk of developing many preventable diseases and their complications.

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FAQs Related to Childhood Vaccination

Can a vaccine make my child sick?

Vaccines are completely safe and do not cause any serious side effects in children. Some children may experience soreness at the site of injection and mild fever which can be treated with various over-the-counter medications.

What diseases are prevented by vaccines?

Vaccines prevent many serious diseases and their complications in your children. These diseases include Polio, Measles, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Mumps, Rubella, Influenza, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. These diseases can lead to various complications in children such as paralysis in lower limbs, brain swelling, blindness, excessive muscle contractions and difficulty in breathing.

Can I let my child get Chickenpox instead of getting the Varicella vaccine?

Chickenpox is a mild disease and usually does not lead to serious complications however if it affects children with weak immune systems then it can lead to the development of many serious complications in children which can persist throughout their life.

What is the most important vaccine that a child must receive?

All the vaccines that are listed above are important and a child must receive the doses at the recommended time in their age. This will build immunity in the children against these diseases. Hepatitis B vaccine is the first vaccine that a child receives and they receive it within 24 hours of their birth.

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