Vaccinations are one of the most important medical advances to help protect children from many serious, often life-threatening preventable diseases. In addition, many of these infections in childhood can cause severe complications like hearing loss, infertility and even damage to the brain. As a pediatrician for over 20 years and a mom of three, I have unfortunately seen healthy children succumb to diseases such as influenza and pneumococcal meningitis.
Sometimes I hear that parents aren’t worried about their child getting many of these diseases because they say the infections don’t seem common anymore. And that just it, immunizations have drastically reduced diseases such as polio, diphtheria, measles, pneumococcal disease to name a few. Because the vaccines work so efficiently in preventing these diseases it may not seem like a threat, but just ask your parents or grandparents how seriously ill children were from these diseases before they were invented. My concern is real, if parents don’t know about these diseases and fail to vaccinate children when they are young, the diseases will come back and spread extremely quickly. Not only are you putting others at risk who may not be able to be vaccinated but putting your own child at risk too.
Because this is so important to me, I teamed up with Parents Magazine and Pfizer to discuss their recent survey to assess parents knowledge of many preventable childhood illnesses and to educate parents about the importance of staying up to date on their child’s vaccines. Even when a baby’s health seems fine, regular check-ups during the first 2 years can help ensure baby receives all the recommended preventive care not just vaccines but also important safety and developmental screenings too.