Media Contact: Keith.O’Connor@baystatehealth.org, 413-794-7656
SPRINGFIELD – No parent wants to see their child crying and in pain. But that’s not a good enough reason not to have them vaccinated.
Neither is the falsely cited reason that childhood vaccinations may be the cause of autism.
“Childhood vaccinations are one of the best ways for parents to protect their children against vaccine-preventable diseases. National Infant Immunization Week provides a valuable opportunity for our community to tell people how important it is for children to be vaccinated,” said Dr. John Snyder, pediatrician, High Street Health Center Pediatrics, at Baystate Children’s Hospital.
“Today, we can ease the pain, and the stress a parent often feels, by cooling or numbing the area of the arm or leg where the shot is to be given. There is also no scientific evidence of a correlation between vaccination and autism, despite the attention it has received in the media and from a very vocal minority of parents,” he added.
During the last week of April, hundreds of communities across the United States will join those in countries around the world to celebrate the critical role vaccination plays in protecting our children, communities, and public health. That’s the message pediatricians at Baystate Children’s Hospital and health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are hoping to spread during National Infant Immunization Week, April 21-27.
The CDC lists five important reasons to vaccinate your child:
• Immunizations can save your child’s life.
• Vaccination is very safe and effective.
• Immunization protects others you care about.
• Immunizations can save your family time and money.
• Immunization protects future generations.
If vaccines have been so successful in preventing disease today, why do kids still need to be vaccinated?
Dr. Snyder noted that infants are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases and that is why it is critical to protect them through immunization. Each day, nearly 12,000 babies are born in the United States who will need to be immunized against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases over six visits before age two.
“Despite our best efforts, vaccine-preventable diseases still circulate in our country and around the world,” said Dr. Snyder, who cited last year’s multiple outbreaks of whooping cough around the country.
Even when diseases are rare in the United States, they can be brought into the country, putting unvaccinated children at risk. Today, there are cases of whooping cough in every state, and the country will likely have the most reported cases since 1959. As of November 16, 2012, more than 35,000 cases have been reported across the United States, including 16 deaths. The majority of these deaths were among infants younger than three months of age.
“So, continued vaccination is needed to protect not only our children, but adults, as well, from life-threatening outbreaks,” said Dr. Snyder.
Parents should follow the immunization schedule provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is designed by experts to ensure maximum protection and safety for infants and children at various ages. The schedule can be found online at the American Academy of Pediatrics website: www.aap.org/immunization.
“Immunization is a shared responsibility. Families, health care providers, and public health officials must work together to help protect the entire community,” said
For additional information on child health, visit the Baystate Health website at www.baystatehealth.org/bch.