Children are born with an immune system that, when it recognizes germs (perceived as foreign invaders) produces antibodies to fight them. These proteins are incredibly important as the first time a child is infected with a disease the child’s body naturally produces antibodies designed to fight it. The incredible human body remembers these antigens and when exposed again, it can fight to produce antibodies to protect it from being ill again. This protection is called immunity. Newborns are immune to many diseases because of antibodies they received from their mothers, however, this immunity fades during the first year of life. While this natural protection system helps for common colds and viruses, there are virulent strains of bacteria and viruses that many humans aren’t protected against. For this reason, vaccines are important. Organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Family Physicians all strongly support protecting children with recommended vaccines.
Pediatrician Paul Ahn, MD, is a strong believer in the efficacy of childhood vaccines. “Vaccines are one of the most important ways we can keep our children healthy. There has been a tremendous amount of research which shows that they are safe and effective. As a fellow parent with young children, I can understand the worries we have for our children. With so many things out of our control, it can be difficult to know how to best protect them. And I know that the vaccine schedule can sometimes feel overwhelming at times. But I can tell you that the vaccines we recommend to our families are the same ones my children have received on schedule at their own doctor's appointments. From the seasonal flu vaccines, to hepatitis, to measles, and all the rest, I believe with confidence that these vaccines are safe and will help keep my children healthy!”
The most widely discussed topic regarding vaccinations is childhood and adolescent vaccination, but immunizations are also important for adults, and especially expectant mothers and those who are around babies.
When you visit your practitioner for your or your child’s annual well visit, it is important to discuss what immunizations are recommended and if there are any that might not be recommended. Childhood vaccines have routine schedules based on age and designated times for boosters. It is important to stay on the immunization schedule for the vaccines to be effective.
If you have any questions about specific vaccines, please call us or send a message to your provider via MyChart.