Since the COVID-19 pandemic, routine vaccines have sharply declined nationwide. The largest decline in childhood immunization rates has been in children over 24 months. Vaccine hesitancy is real, but vaccines are a selfless act of prevention that protect those who are more vulnerable -- it’s a no brainer how vital they are to our community. The decline in vaccines increases the risk of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks is concerning to say the least.
First and foremost, I want to address the elephant in the room – yes, I am PRO-vaccines, even in children. I know this can be a controversial topic, and I am not interested in debating, but I do want to share 5 reasons why child vaccines are important.
Five Important Reasons to Vaccinate Your Child:
1. Immunizations can save your child’s life. Vaccines help provide immunity before kids are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases.
2. Vaccinations are safe and they work! Vaccines are carefully reviewed by scientists and healthcare professionals before they are ever given to children. While vaccines do typically involve some discomfort and may cause pain, redness, or tenderness at the site of injection, these side effects are minimal compared to the pain and/or discomfort associated with the actual diseases. Serious side effects are very rare, and the benefits of getting the vaccine greatly outweigh the risks for almost all children.
3. Immunizations protect your other loved ones as well. Not only do vaccinations create the strongest immunity for kids, staying up to date on vaccines also protects people in our community who may not be able to be vaccinated.
4. Immunizations can save your family time and money. I can’t stress enough the detrimental effects of not getting vaccinated. A child with a disease that can be prevented by vaccination can lead to missing school or daycare. Some vaccine-preventable diseases can result in a need for long-term treatment which can take a financial toll on a family due to loss of wages from not being able to work and medical bills. Vaccines are usually covered by insurance and are a super good investment!
5. Immunization protects future generations. Vaccines have significantly reduced, and in some cases, eliminated many fatal and/or debilitating diseases that were seen a few generations ago. A good example of this is smallpox. Our children don’t have to get the smallpox vaccine because the disease no longer exists thanks to widespread immunization in previous generations. If we continue to prioritize vaccinations now and wholeheartedly comply, the preventable diseases that we are all battling today may be a thing of the past in the future.
I know shots can be scary, but I hope now you see the benefits of what keeping your children and yourself up to date on vaccinations can do for our community of immunity. I encourage you to talk to your family doctor about what vaccines are recommended for your kids and yourself and how to catch up if you’re behind.
We have also hit a plateau of those getting the COVID-19 vaccination. The COVID-19 vaccine has been proven to be safe and effective, and now everyone 12 and up are eligible. As they continue to study the vaccine’s effect in younger children, your family doctor and the CDC will be great resources to you. Putting an end to the pandemic requires everyone doing their part – that includes taking preventive measures and choosing to get vaccinated.