4 Reasons You Should Vaccinate Your Children
“I’m going to test him for whooping cough,” the doctor said.
“But he was vaccinated for it, right? How could he have it?” I asked.
The doctor did a few clicks on the laptop and confirmed that my son received all the immunizations for whooping cough (also known as pertussis).
“Even though your son got his shots, there is still a small possibility he could have it. Since your other children have been vaccinated, it is unlikely they could get it, but if he has it, they would need to be treated with antibiotics as a precaution.”
My son did not have whooping cough. During the few days it took to receive the results, I was grateful all of my children were most likely protected from it.
According to the CDC, immunizations can help protect your child from contracting 16 different diseases. Some of these illnesses could be deadly, including the flu. Go to the CDC website (www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents) and see a list of recommended vaccinations and the age they should be administered.
Some parents are worried about their child contracting autism from receiving vaccinations. A study conducted in 2014 of 1.2 million children concluded there was no link between autism and vaccinations.
Save Your Child’s Life and Others
In 2014, the CDC released a press statement that stated over the past 20 years, immunizations have prevented 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths. These successful statistics are related to the creation of the Vaccines for Children program, which was developed in response to a reemergence of measles in 1994.
This program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children who qualify due to lack of insurance or income. If your child is under 18 and does not have health insurance, he can still be immunized at little or no cost to you through the VFC program.
More specifically, diphtheria, polio, influenza (flu), measles, and bacterial meningitis are all diseases that have been deadly for children, but due to vaccinations, the number of deaths has either decreased or is nonexistent.
In the 1920s, every year over 150,000 worldwide would die from diphtheria, but due to immunizations today, there are only a few cases a year. Similarly, during 1916, polio caused 6,000 deaths a year in the U.S., but today, it is considered eradicated due to vaccinations, with the last known case in 1979.
There is a vaccination for the HPV infections. The HPV infection can lead to cancer in both men and women (cervical cancer). HPV infections cause over 17,000 cancers in women and over 9,000 cancers in men each year in the United States. Receiving this immunization prevents contraction of the HPV infection and, in turn, the development of its related cancers.
By getting your child vaccinated, you are also saving the lives of people who did not get immunized, a condition referred to as herd immunity. If a certain percentage of a community is immune from a disease, it protects those people who are not immune.
Economic Benefits for Society
According to an analysis by the CDC, hospitalizations avoided and lives saved through vaccination will save nearly $295 billion in direct costs and $1.38 trillion in total societal costs. The annual loss to the U.S. economy due to the flu is $87.1 billion.
Side Effects are Rare
It is rare to have a serious side effect from receiving vaccinations. The most common side effect is soreness in the area where the shot was administered. The benefit of preventing a possible deadly disease far outweighs the mild side effects of the immunization.
The Science Supports the Decision
There is a significant amount of research and statistics that supports the benefits of receiving immunizations for children and adults. It also has been scientifically proven to be safe and effective against preventing contraction of the disease.
Cheryl Maguire holds a master’s of counseling psychology degree. She is married and is the mother of twins and a daughter. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, Parents magazine, AARP, Healthline, Your Teen magazine, and many other publications. You can find her at Twitter @CherylMaguire05
Editor’s note: Of course, we are just beginning to see the costs related to COVID-19 and are hopeful we will have a vaccine for it in the near future.