Childhood immunizations. Many Americans remember their smallpox vaccinations and have circular scars on their upper arms to prove it. The New York State Department of Health reports that administration of this vaccine stopped in 1972 because deadly smallpox was eradicated. Today's vaccines also protect children from the ravages of 18 communicable diseases. At Virginia Pediatric Group in Herndon, Great Falls, South Riding, and Fairfax, VA, your team of pediatricians and support staff recommend adherence to a vaccination schedule birth through the college years.
Both the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics see great benefit in giving intramuscular, sublingual, and subcutaneous vaccinations against chickenpox, measles, Hepatitis A and B, pneumonia, influenza, HPV, diphtheria, and other harmful and possibly deadly diseases. So they set a schedule for parents and health care providers to follow so children's immunity builds against infection.
How do vaccines work?
Based on principles discovered by who we now call immunologists, vaccines introduce a small amount of a disease-causing agent--virus or bacteria--into the patient. The patient's own bodies (immune system) react immediately and begin producing antibodies, microscopic defenses against disease.
Vaccines are made in several safe and effective ways. Some are composed of weakened microbes, and others are composed of parts, or antigens, of bacteria or viruses. While a child may exhibit some mild reactions to the germs (a low-grade fever, soreness at the injection site as examples), he or she will not develop the active disease. In fact, the body will become much stronger in its defense against the sickness.
Are vaccines worth it?
Vaccines are safe, and yes, they do work. Children are spared serious illness and complications. As such, your pediatricians in Herndon, Great Falls, South Riding, and Fairfax ask that parents and caregivers stay on schedule with immunizations at their children's well-baby and well-child visits.
Not only do these medications protect your own family, they also protect families across the country. As more people are immunized, fewer contract these diseases. Additionally, youngsters who cannot receive vaccines because they are allergic or are immuno-suppressed actually benefit from the general population getting vaccinated. Why? Well, fewer germs will pass from vaccinated individuals to those around them. This principle of immunology is called "herd immunity" or "community immunity."
Besides the obvious health benefits of vaccines, your child's school, daycare, camp, and, later on, college, will require proof that he or she has been fully immunized. At Virginia Pediatric Group, we keep an electronic record of immunizations to supply to those agencies and organizations who require proof of them.
Regarding those schedules...
The CDC and AAP put out immunization schedules for health care providers to follow. They list vaccines and dosages for children birth through six years, ages seven through 18 and also a "catch-up" schedule. The catch-up schedule helps children get immunizations they need but somehow missed due to illness or other circumstance.
Is your child on schedule?
Childhood immunizations are so important. To make your well-child visit, contact Virginia Pediatric Group in Herndon, Great Falls, South Riding, and Fairfax, VA, today at (703) 573-2432.