Should My Child Get Vaccinated?
Perhaps one of the most common and concerned questions we get from parents at all of our branches in Houston and Pasadena would probably have to do with vaccinations. With all the voices and opinions shared loudly through the media these days, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the decisions that surround getting your child immunized and to find yourself at a loss for what the best option really is.
Here at Angels Medical, we are parents and family members ourselves and we are supremely aware of the desire to not only protect our children but to do what is best for them, which is why we take these questions very seriously.
And with that conviction we want you to know that we 100% believe the BEST thing you can do for your child is to have them receive the recommended immunizations for their age according to the immunization schedule set forth by the Centers for Disease Control.
In this article, we will explain the thought and reasons behind why this is the best option for your child and ALL children. But we also hope, above all, if you have questions about getting immunizations in Houston that you will not be afraid to come in and talk with one of our medical professionals about your concerns so that we can help you have peace of mind and confidence in this plan of action for your children.
Why is it Important for My Child to Be Vaccinated?
There is no way to sugarcoat the truth, if you do not vaccinate your child you are putting them at risk of some of the most dangerous diseases humanity has ever faced. These diseases such as Measles, Mumps, Polio, and many others are not just inconvenient illnesses, these are diseases that can cause blindness, paralyzation, deafness, and worse, death.
Such is the story of polio, one of the worst infectious diseases ever seen in the United States. In 1952 ALONE 60,000 children were infected with polio, THOUSANDS were paralyzed and over 3,000 children died. However, with the invention and implementation of the polio vaccine and a widespread effort to eradicate the disease across the world, polio has virtually disappeared. Take a look at the history of any of these diseases and you will see how powerful immunization can be!
Some parents think, “If the disease hasn’t been seen in decades why do I need to vaccinate my child against it?”
The simple answer is this, these diseases AREN’T actually gone, they’ve been contained. The reason we don’t see these infectious diseases spreading through our communities is due to herd immunity or the protection we get with a wide coverage of immunization. When most healthy people have been correctly immunized, even if someone does manage to catch the disease it doesn’t spread.
So, not only are you protecting your child from these diseases, you’re preventing diseases from spreading, especially to other individuals who have compromised immune systems and CAN’T be vaccinated. Such immunocompromised individuals include the elderly, people with chronic disease, and children who are too young or ill to receive vaccinations.
What Are Vaccinations?
According to the World Health Organization, vaccines are, “a biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular disease.” In layman’s terms, a vaccine is a substance that is prepared specifically to help educate your child’s immune system to fight off deadly diseases.
These “biological preparations” can be designed in multiple ways, but most employ weakened or inactivated germs from the disease or even simply parts of the germ that can be injected into the body as a harmless practice run to help teach your child’s immune system how to protect against that infectious disease.
Currently, there are 4 different kinds of vaccines:
- Subunit, recombinant, polysaccharide, and conjugate
Live Attenuated Vaccines
This type of vaccine is the kind made up of live, but weakened, germs from the disease of concern. Due to the fact that these particular vaccines are introducing the actual disease that we are trying to protect against they can actually provide life-long protection from infection after only 1 or 2 doses. However, since they are introducing the actual virus into the body individuals with compromised immune systems (like chronic illnesses and people who had an organ transplant) should consult their medical care provider before receiving this immunization.
Diseases that are protected against with Live Attenuated vaccines are:
- Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR combined vaccine)
- Yellow fever
This kind of vaccine is created using the actual germ that causes the infection, only the germ has been killed. Because the germ is dead the immunity formed is not as strong as that which can be achieved through live attenuated vaccines, however, the simple solution is to receive booster shots over time to reinforce immunity.
Diseases that are protected against with Inactivated vaccines include:
- Hepatitis A
Subunit, recombinant, polysaccharide, and conjugate vaccines
Sometimes the best way to create a vaccine is by using just a PART of the germ, like their protein or sugar. Because these vaccines use the actual part of the germ they create strong immunity targeted at identifying that specific part of the germ. However often booster shots are needed to help the body keep sharp in defending against these diseases.
The diseases protected against these vaccines are:
- Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) disease
- Hepatitis B
- HPV (Human papillomavirus)
- Whooping cough (part of the DTaP combined vaccine)
- Pneumococcal disease
- Meningococcal disease
Some germs actually create a toxin that they release into the body causing illness by poisoning the body rather than the germ itself being the cause. Toxoid vaccines take that harmful toxin and actually teach the body how to create immunity against the toxin specifically, rendering the germs essentially harmless. To keep immune response strong booster shots are needed to defend against these diseases.
Toxoid vaccines can be used for diseases like:
If you or your children have not been vaccinated, don’t waste any time! You don’t want to put your loved ones at risk, especially when recent years have seen an increase in outbreaks of disease here in Texas simply because too many people aren’t receiving the vaccinations they should be.
The good news is, getting immunized is easy! You don’t need to have insurance and you don’t need an appointment! Just get in the car and come on down to your nearest Angels Medical branch where we can help administer vaccinations quick and easy, so you can get in and out and on with your healthy, happy life.
If you still have questions or want to learn more about this topic check out our article, “13 Common Questions (And Concerns) Parents Have About Vaccinations”.