Vaccinations are a vital part of a preventive healthcare plan, preventing many serious illnesses that were once widespread, including measles, polio, and tetanus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, finds that vaccinations and immunizations prevent more than 2.5 million deaths every year.
Certain vaccinations are recommended for all children, adolescents, and adults. Following the recommended vaccination schedule for children before the age of 2 can help protect them from 14 preventable diseases, including chickenpox, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, measles, and mumps.
Vaccinations are available at Woodforest Pediatric & Family Clinic in Houston and the surrounding area. Call us at 713-453-4600 to schedule an appointment and learn more.
How Vaccinations Work
Despite the high success rates of vaccines, the CDC finds that only 1 in 5 children worldwide do not have access to specific immunizations for preventable diseases. Vaccinations protect the individual who is vaccinated, and they also prevent that person from being a carrier and transmitting the disease to others.
When more people within a community are vaccinated, it becomes less likely that a susceptible individual will come into contact with someone who has the disease. The immune system protects against harmful pathogens that cause disease. For the immune system to work correctly, it has to recognize those pathogens as dangerous.
Vaccinations help this process by teaching the body to recognize certain invaders through exposure to a safe form of a disease, such as an inactivated or weakened pathogen. This weakened pathogen stimulates the body to produce antigens and build an immune response to the disease. Then, if the individual is exposed to the disease in the future, the body knows how to fight it.
The Process for Receiving Vaccinations
Vaccinations are usually given by injection, with some vaccines requiring more than one injection. Many vaccines can help keep children healthy throughout infancy and childhood, but they are not all given immediately after birth. A vaccine that requires multiple doses should be given according to a recommended schedule that we will set up with the parent.
For example, the polio vaccine requires injection at 2 months, a second at 4 months, a third between 6 and 18 months, and a fourth at 4–6 years. Our team can provide patients with a vaccination schedule and help patients ensure that they schedule the necessary appointments.
Adults who were vaccinated as children may still need certain vaccines later in life. For example, the flu vaccine must be repeated every year.
Types of Vaccinations
Vaccinations are available for many dangerous or deadly diseases. The CDC recommends that all people receive certain vaccinations. These vaccines include:
- Influenza (the flu)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b)
- HPV (Human Papillomavirus)
- Polio (Poliomyelitis)
- Rubella (German Measles)
- Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
- Tetanus (Lockjaw)
- Whooping cough (Pertussis)
Some people may require additional vaccines if they risk being exposed to other diseases. For example, individuals who are traveling to an area with an increased risk of exposure to a disease that is no longer common in the United States may need vaccines before they travel. These are considered nonroutine vaccines because they are not included in the recommended immunization schedule for all U.S. citizens.
Nonroutine vaccines include cholera, rabies, tuberculosis, and typhoid fever. Individuals who are planning on traveling to another country should understand the necessary vaccines before they go.
Call Us Today
Following the recommended vaccination schedule for your child can help keep them stay healthy well into adulthood. If you or your child need vaccinations, call us at 713-453-4600 to schedule an appointment and learn more today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are vaccines safe?
Yes, vaccines are safe. The United States uses a vaccine safety system to ensure that vaccinations are as safe as possible. The vaccination supply in the United States is currently safer than it has ever been. We will also follow all protocol when it comes to administering vaccines.
Are there any side effects to vaccinations?
Side effects of vaccinations are usually mild and may include swelling or pain at the injection site. We will notify the patient or parent of the patient about any possible side effects before the injection. We will also take time to address any questions or concerns from the patient before we begin.
Will vaccines overload my child’s immune system?
Vaccines do not put too much strain on the immune system. Every day, your baby’s immune system is exposed to and fights off thousands of germs. Vaccinations contain a small fraction of the antigens people are exposed to in their daily environment. Even if your child receives more than one vaccine in one day, they are not exposed to more antigens than they can fight off.
Should my child be vaccinated if they are sick?
If your child is scheduled for a vaccination and is ill, notify us right away. In the case of mild illnesses such as a cold or earache, it may be fine to administer the vaccination as planned. With other types of illnesses, we may need to postpone the vaccination.
Can I wait to vaccinate my children until they go to school?
No, even if your children are cared for at home and are not around other children, they can still be exposed to illness. They may catch illnesses from family members, other people who enter the home or people at playgrounds or other public places. Even people who do not have any symptoms may be carrying a disease that they can transmit to another person.
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