Vaccination or immunization is one of the more important health maintenance services we provide for the children of Papago Buttes Pediatrics. Simply put, what vaccination does is educate your child’s immune system to recognize and respond to harmful bacteria and viruses before he or she has ever been exposed to them. Without question, this is one of the most significant advances that have ever been made in human health and well being. From the first very crude vaccine against the horrible disease Smallpox tremendous advances have been made in protecting us from a host of harmful and deadly germs.
We now are able to protect your child from a host of illnesses that they would have likely gotten in an earlier era. These range from nuisance illnesses like Chickenpox, which though it was rarely deadly, caused untold millions of dollars in lost wages, absence from school, missed family vacations, holidays, weddings, bar mitzvahs, to deadly infant whooping cough.
As the number of illnesses that we can protect against has grown, the schedule by which we give these vaccines has become more and more complicated. This has given rise to concern by parents and attention by the media to whether these are indeed safe or necessary. In many ways, these concerns are an unavoidable consequence of our success. Yet we know from frequent experience that in virtually all cases where vaccination rates drop, most of the diseases we protect against immediately re-appear. This year alone, for instance, the CDC reports that there have been twice as many cases of Measles reported in the United States as in the previous year. Virtually all of these cases have occurred in people who either chose not to vaccinate, or “innocent bystanders”, infants who were exposed to sick individuals and had not yet been vaccinated due to their young age. And Measles is not just a nuisance disease as some would suggest. Worldwide it is one of the largest infectious killers of children in the developing world. In the recent outbreaks in this country approximately one in five cases require hospitalization.
Despite the flurry of stories in the media and on the internet, the science on vaccination safety and effectiveness is careful and well done. The experts who make recommendations on the complicated vaccine schedule are first and foremost concerned with the health and safety of children in America. And we at Papago Buttes carefully consider those recommendations and the available scientific evidence in deciding which vaccines we recommend and provide for your child. For more information on vaccine safety and effectiveness we recommend you read the attached article from the American Academy of Pediatrics Vaccine Safety: The Facts. Without doubt, there are potential complications and side effects to vaccination, as with any medicine or treatment we recommend. And we will be happy to discuss the pros and cons of any vaccine we recommend. But we remain confident that vaccination is a critically important health strategy and would without hesitation provide them for our own young children.