Parenting is an incredible but often challenging journey; every milestone bringing new questions. How can you keep your child safe? How can you help them grow? The right choices aren't always clear.
Like many parenting topics, vaccination can feel overwhelming at first. But the good news is there are clear recommendations, backed by extensive research. Find everything you need to know, from the womb right down to graduation.
With so much information, and sometimes incorrect information, available today, learning the facts before making health decisions is very important. That is why we want to help you understand the importance and safety behind vaccination.
Quick Facts to Know About Vaccines
• Vaccination is a highly effective, easy way to keep your family healthy.
• On-time vaccination throughout childhood is essential because it helps provide immunity before children are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases.
• Vaccines are tested to ensure that they are safe and effective for children to receive at the recommended ages.
Upcoming Flu Season
With flu season approaching and the possibility of a re-emergence of COVID-19 in the fall, it is more important than ever to do what you can to help protect yourself and your family against the flu, and that means getting an annual preventative flu vaccine. This year, flu vaccines will be given by appointment only or during scheduled flu clinics, if the practice chooses to do so. For more information on the flu vaccine or specific flu clinic dates, contact your CCP provider. We don’t want a flu outbreak, especially during these COVID-times. Be sure to contact your primary care doctor for an appointment for your flu vaccine if you have not already done so.
Well-Child Visits are Essential
In the past few months, families have been doing their part by staying at home as much as possible to help stop the spread of COVID-19. But now, as communities open up, your child must go in for their well-child visit. These well-child visits are essential for many reasons, including:
• Tracking growth and development including milestones, social behaviors, and learning
• Discussing any concerns about your child's health
• Getting scheduled vaccinations to prevent illnesses like measles and whooping cough (pertussis) and 12 other serious diseases
Did you know that there were several outbreaks of measles and whooping cough in recent years? It's true. These diseases are extremely contagious and can be very serious, especially for babies and young children. As schools and daycares also plan to reopen, protecting children against these and other diseases makes these vaccinations particularly important. If you're not sure what vaccines are needed, see CDC's immunization schedule.
Are you feeling concerned about keeping your child safe during a doctor visit? At Community Care, there is no higher priority for us than our patients' and employees' safety. The care we provide is essential to our patients. We must continue to provide this care in our offices and virtually using telemedicine. For appointments that require face-to-face visits, we follow strict infection control procedures, based on the guidance of CCP's COVID Response Team, the New York State Department of Health, and the CDC, to keep our patients and staff safe. The situation is evolving quickly, and we are working diligently to approach it with a mix of caution and accommodation as your healthcare provider. We need to be sure you are aware of our current challenges and recommendations, including strict limitations and precautions on required protection and testing. We screen patients over the phone and in the office; our staff wears personal protective equipment at all times; our offices have infection response teams; our patients are asked to wear masks upon arrival to our offices and all patients/visitors/staff are screened upon entering our offices; we have enhanced cleaning schedules and separate sick and well spaces; we use telemedicine to help people stay home; we limit the number of visitors in our offices and promote social distancing. These are challenging times, but you have the power to help keep your child healthy. Ensuring that your child sees their doctor for well-child visits and vaccines is one of the best things you can do to protect your child and community.
Making the Decision to Vaccinate
The diseases vaccines prevent can be dangerous or even deadly. Statistically, the chances of your child getting diseases such as measles, pertussis, or another vaccine-preventable condition might be low, and your child might never need the protection vaccines offer. HOWEVER, you don't want them to be lacking the protection vaccines provide if they ever do need it.
Immunity is the body's way of preventing disease. When your baby is born, his/her immune system is not fully developed, which can put him/her at higher risk for infections. That's why newborns get all the necessary vaccinations because vaccines reduce your child's risk of infection by working with his/her body's natural defenses to help safely develop immunity to disease.
The safety of vaccines is often a topic of many media stories. This attention may make you wonder, "How do I know if vaccines are safe?" Making sure vaccines are safe is a priority for the CDC. The CDC and FDA take many steps to make sure vaccines are safe before and after the public begin to use it. Before a vaccine is even given to people, the FDA oversees extensive lab testing of the vaccine that can take several years to make sure it is safe and effective. After the lab, trial in people begins, and it can take several more years before the clinical studies are complete, and the vaccine is licensed. Once a vaccine is authorized, the FDA, CDC, National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other federal agencies routinely monitor its use and investigate potential safety concerns. Like any medicine, vaccines can cause side effects such as a low-grade fever, pain, and redness at the injection site. Mild reactions go away within a few days on their own. Severe, long-lasting side effects are extremely rare. If you have questions or concerns about a vaccine, talk with your child's doctor.
Your Child's Vaccine Visit
Vaccination is a highly effective, safe, and secure way to help keep your family healthy. Vaccines can prevent infectious diseases that once killed or harmed, many infants, children, and adults. Without vaccines, your child is at risk for getting seriously ill and suffering pain, disability, and even death from diseases like measles and whooping cough. It is always better to prevent a disease than to treat it after it occurs. By following the approved vaccination schedule through childhood, on-time vaccines can help provide immunity to children before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases. Whether you have a baby or an older child, when the time comes for your child to get his or her shots, you can take steps to learn about what to expect and how you can prepare.
You have the power to protect yourself and your family against serious diseases, like whooping cough, cancers caused by HPV, and pneumonia, through on-time vaccination. So what are you waiting for? We encourage you to talk to your primary care provider to ensure you and your family are up to date on recommended vaccines. As your children head back to school this fall, make sure vaccination is at the top of your checklist. The end of Summer is a pivotal time to make sure you are up to date on all the vaccines you need to stay healthy.