Measles, mumps and chicken pox are just childhood illness and used to be almost a right of passage. But these and other childhood diseases can have serious consequences and can be easily prevented through a consistently applied immunization program.
Widespread immunizations in the United States have made many communicable diseases a thing of the past. Measles and diphtheria have dramatically declined over the years, and polio has nearly been eliminated. In fact, the United States has done such a great job of prevention through immunization that some parents today are questioning the need for immunizations for their children.
Even though many childhood diseases are very rare in the United States, they still exist in other parts of the world. International travel from other countries can put children who have not been immunized at risk.
Immunization offers children protection against a number of communicable diseases by exposing them to killed or weakened viruses that cause the disease. In some cases, only part of the virus is used in a vaccine. This exposure allows your child’s body the chance to fight off the virus and, in doing so, develop antibodies. These antibodies recognize any future exposure and quickly go to work to combat the disease.
There is a very small risk that a vaccine made from a weakened virus can cause your child to develop a mild case of the disease. This milder case generally is not as severe as it would be if he or she developed the disease without benefit of immunization.
Today’s immunizations safe
The immunizations today are safe for your children. While some children do develop reactions such as redness or swelling where the injection was given, fever or rash, these reactions are generally mild. The risk of more severe reactions is lower than it would be if your child developed the disease instead. Millions of children in the United States are vaccinated each year with few side effects.
When to immunize
Immunizations are best given at the prescribed schedule. Many of the immunizations are required at certain intervals so that your child can develop immunity to the disease. You should talk to your doctor about the best schedule for your child.
Recommended Immunization Schedule
Birth: Hepatitis B (Hep B)
1-4 months: Hep B
2 months: Diphtheria, Tetanus and Acellular Pertussis (DTaP)
Haemophilus Influenza (Hib)
Inactivated Poliovirus (IPV)
Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV)
4 months: DTaP, Hib, IPV, PCV, Rv
6 months: DTaP, Hib, PCV, Rv
6-18 months: Hep B, IPV
12-15 months: Hib, Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR), PCV, Varicella (Var)
12-23 months: Hepatitis A (Hep A)
15-18 months: DTaP
4-6 years: DTaP, MMR, IPV, Var
11-12 years: Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis booster (Tdap), Meningitis
College Entrants: MCV4
An annual influenza (flu) vaccine is recommended for high-risk children who are older than six months. This includes children who have asthma, heart problems, sickle cell anemia, diabetes and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). All infants from six months to five years of age should have a flu vaccine.
Parents may want to consider having girls who are 11 to 12 years old vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus causes most cases of genital warts and cervical cancer.
The meningitis vaccine is recommended for children who are 11 years old or for those who are 15 years old or entering high school who haven’t received the vaccine. College-bound teens who will be living in a dormitory setting also should receive the vaccine.
Texas Department of State Health Services Vaccine Schedule Recommendation
What does my child's school require?
Visit the Web site for your child's school district for a list of specific requirements and recommendations:
Spring Branch ISD
If your child has missed one of the recommended vaccinations, talk to your doctor about steps you can take to bring your child’s immunization schedule up to date. Call 800-681-2733 today for a complimentary referral to a physician near you.