From vanquishing monsters under the bed to helping them back up when they fall, it’s our obligation as parents to protect our children. One critical way parents safeguard the ongoing wellbeing and health of their children is to vaccinate.
There have been two confirmed cases of the measles in the New Orleans area in the last month. So, why are cases of highly infectious diseases resurfacing? The answer is simple – it’s a consequence of not vaccinating.
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The CDC recommends routine childhood immunization for the measles with the MMR vaccine starting at 12 to 15 months of age, with a second dose at 4-6 years of age. It’s the best defense against contracting the disease and highly effective – one dose of the vaccine is 93% effective at prevention, while two doses are 97% effective. If your child is unvaccinated, they have up to a 90% chance of contracting the measles if exposed.
Not vaccinating raises an individual’s risk level of contracting diseases otherwise protected against by vaccines. Furthermore, it has the potential to impact the entire community, especially the health of those with compromised immune systems or who are unable to receive vaccinations, including infants. Measles is transmitted through the air so is very contagious and can result in severe illness including death in our most vulnerable.
How do you protect yourself and your family? As healthcare providers, we encourage all parents to confirm that their children are up-to-date with vaccinations. The CDC recommends the following immunization schedule for infants and children:
- HepB (Hepatitis B) – First dose at birth with subsequent doses between 1 – 2 months, and between 6 – 18 months
- RV (Rotavirus) – First dose at 2 months with subsequent doses at 4 months and 6 months
- DTap (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis) – First dose at 2 months with subsequent doses at 4 months, 6 months, between 15 – 18 months, and between 4 – 6 year
- Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) – First dose at 2 months with subsequent doses at 4 months, 6 months and between 12 – 15 months
- PCV13 (Pneumococcal) – First dose at 2 months with subsequent doses at 4 months, 6 months and between 12 – 15 month
- IPV (Inactivated Poliovirus) – First dose at 2 months with subsequent doses at 4 months, between 6 -18 months and between 4 – 6 years
- Flu (Influenza) – Yearly starting at 6 months (with 2 doses given 4 weeks apart for children receiving the influenza vaccine for the first time)
- Varicella (Chickenpox) – First dose between 12 – 15 months with subsequent dose between 4 – 6 years
- MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) – First dose between 12 – 15 months with subsequent dose between 4 – 6 years
- Hep A (Hepatitis A) – First dose between 12- 23 months with subsequent dose 6 – 18 months later
Vaccines are proven to protect your health and the health of those around you. If your child has not received their vaccines or if you are unsure if they are current on their vaccinations, please contact your pediatrician or primary care physician today to check. The CDC also offers answers to frequently asked questions about measles and the measles vaccine.