Immunizations and Vaccines: Where do I Begin?
By AAA Pediatrics
May 07, 2014
According to the physicians at AAA Pediatrics in Woodbridge, immunizations are an essential part of well-child care. Proper immunizations protect the health of the individual child, and protect all of the children in the community as a whole. Many parents have concerns about immunizations, and may choose to not immunize their children, but it is important to fully understand each immunization. As a parent, you are encouraged to talk to our pediatricians in Woodbridge, VA for more information on proper immunization scheduling for your child.
Immunizations for Teenagers and Young Adults
Many parents only think of vaccines as something needed for infants and young children, and that they are less important later in life. However, in fact, teenagers and young adults often get a number of vaccine-preventable diseases, including hepatitis B, measles, German measles, and chickenpox. Teens and young adults need protection against infectious illnesses as well.
Teenagers are encouraged to see their pediatricians or other physicians on a regular basis, and should keep an updated record of their immunizations. Many will need more vaccinations as teenagers, particularly if they have not been previously vaccinated against hepatitis B or chickenpox. Important vaccines for your teenager include:
- Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR)
- Tetanus-diptheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) or tetanus-diptheria (Td) booster
- Hepatitis A
Vaccinating Children Against Chickenpox
Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine is given to children 12 months of age and older, which has resulted in a significant protection from the disease for infants as well. Before the U.S. began vaccinating children 12 months of age and older against varicella in 1995, infants were four times more likely to die from a varicella infection compared to children ages 1 to 14 years. Many states require that children entering day care or school get immunized against chickenpox unless they can show proof of immunity through blood test results or having had chickenpox.
Chickenpox is a common childhood disease that is usually mild, but it can be serious, especially in young infants and adults. Chickenpox can also:
- Cause a rash, itching, fever, and tiredness
- Lead to severe skin infections, scars, pneumonia, brain damage, or death
- Be spread from person to person through the air, or by contact with fluid from chickenpox blisters
- Cause a person to develop a painful rash called shingles years later
How Safe are Vaccines?
If you believed everything you heard on TV talk shows or read on the Internet, you might never allow your child to become vaccinated. However, vaccine opponents often exaggerate or even make up immunization risks, with no specific evidence to support their claims. Panels of experts have confirmed again and again that today’s vaccines are safer than ever. In fact, the great risks come when a child is not immunized.
Before a vaccine is ever approved and licensed, it goes through years of testing for safety and effectiveness. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) nor government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would not recommend a vaccine that had not passed the tests for safety and effectiveness.
As a responsible parent, it is important for you to be fully informed on the vaccines offered for your child. If you have any questions or concerns, you can talk with our Woodbridge, VA pediatricians at AAA Pediatrics.