What Is All The Fuss About Vaccines and Immunizations?
Your Child's Pediatrician Is on Your Side
Immunization remains crucial regardless of what the media says. The relevance of childhood vaccinations has been relegated to the background by the antivaccination propaganda, fueled in the mainstream and social media. Providing parents with information on the significance of childhood immunization is becoming increasingly difficult. Many parents are so confused even with the information received on pro-vaccination claims because of the anti-vaccine claims which reduce and undermines their confidence in the system (Luthy, Beckstrand, & Callister, 2010) These anti-vaccine campaigns are so influential that parents are made to feel guilty when they allow their children to receive vaccines.
Parents, You are in Charge. Get Informed.
Parents have to understand that communicable diseases pose a potential threat to the lives and wellbeing of children and immunization through vaccines have been very successful in health promotion and illness prevention. The media propaganda on anti-vaccination has somehow pushed to parents believe that vaccines pose a greater risk than the diseases they protect against. One of the popular misconceptions is that vaccination causes autism. The Institute of Medicine has released at least 8 reviews that showed there is no relationship between vaccination and autism (Luthy, Beckstrand, & Callister, 2010). In this post, I will not discuss autism, but it is nice to know that autism is a developmental disorder that affects the brain, manifesting as inappropriate social interaction and communication. Autism is often diagnosed between the ages of two and three years (Luthy, Beckstrand, & Callister, 2010). Sometimes the early signs of developmental maladaptation or delay may be noted around the time of some of the child's primary immunizations and this in itself has fueled some of the misconception, as anti-vaccine literature tries to link vaccination timing with diagnosis timing and thus string together unrelated events.
Why Vaccinate My Child
Mothers you have carried your baby for approximately 40 weeks in the womb. The moment the child is born, that protection the baby enjoyed while in the sterile womb of the mother is gone. The baby is then exposed to the world full of bacteria and very dangerous organism with the potential to cause harm to your child. Immunization is vital to your child during the first two years of life (Luthy, Beckstrand, & Callister, 2010), and older ages really since the immunity continues to evolve. It is common knowledge that preventing a disease is easier than seeking cure. Protection through vaccination can provide the much needed protection against diseases like Hepatitis B, which can lead to liver failure and liver cancer and Chickenpox (Varicella).
The Diphtheria DTaP vaccine protects against three organisms:diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. Diphtheria is contracted through breathing contaminated air (droplet infection) from an infected person, causing the inflammation of the pharyngeal passage and neck glands. Secondary effects effects on the heart muscles can lead to heart failure and death. With treatment, death in diphtheria is about 10% according to the CDC while it approaches 50% if untreated. No parent wishes this for their child. Pertussis DTaP vaccine protects against pertussis or whooping cough, which causes a severe cough, runny nose, and a pause in breathing in infants. It can be fatal. You can read more about it here. Tetanus, the other agent that the DTaP vaccine protects against is also called lockjaw because of the severe spasms of the jaw muscles seen in affected individuals. Exposure through cuts in the skin can lead to stiffness of the neck, difficulty swallowing, muscle spasms, fever, broken bones (the bones break because the muscles contract so forcefully that they break the patient's own bones), breathing difficulty and death. Tetanus is such a cruel illness because the patient is conscious through the illness. It does not cause loss of consciousness per se, so the affected patient goes through the agony alert, but suffering spasms continually at any form of stimuli from noise, to sound to vibrations. It also leads to death usually by a metabolic acidosis or aspiration pneumonia from the vomiting that the spasms may have caused.
Polio IPV vaccine protects against polio. Polio leads to paralysis and death if the paralysis involves the respiratory muscles. That was why the Iron Lung was invented to help children breath when they suffered such paralysis. It was seen as a major health breakthrough until the vaccine was invented. Now those Iron Lung machines are found in the museum and nobody has to be in them for months to stay alive because of polio. The Pneumococcal PCV vaccine protects against pneumococcal pneumonia, an infection of the lungs that threatens life in our youngest ones as well as the elderly. Though pneumonia may be treated with antibiotics, its effects are devastating in persons with suboptimal or developing immune systems. In fact, according to the CDC, "...Since routine use of PCV7 for children began in the United States, rates of invasive pneumococcal disease caused by the seven serotypes included in the vaccine have declined by 99%..." .
Hepatitis A HepA vaccine protects against hepatitis A.It is contracted through direct contact with contaminated food or water and can lead to liver failurew. The Influenza (Flu) Flu vaccine protects against influenza infection. It is contracted by breathing infected air, it leads to extreme fatigue and has been seen to cause death in children. Measles MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella. Measles is contracted by inhaling contaminated air (droplet infection) from an infected person. Measles has severe respiratory as well as neurological effects that cause significant immediate and long term damage in the affected person. It causes a type of giant cell pneumonia that is difficult to treat because of the viral causative agent as well as the severe inflammation associated with it. Invariably, these patients develop complications with bacterial pneumonia and suffer hypoxemia for prolonged periods. The immunity of affected individuals are often diminished, making them more difficult to treat and making recovery a painful and arduous process for survivors. Other components of the MMR vaccine protect against mumps infection and rubella infection. Mumps is also spread by droplet and direct contact it results in swollen salivary glands and muscle pain. Rubella on the other hand may cause minimal harm to the adult but is devastating to the unborn child. If a pregnant mother who has no immunity were to contract rubella, it can damage the brain, heart, eyes and kidneys of the unborn baby. If the mother does not have a stillbirth or midtrimester abortion, then the offspring, often severely deformed suffers for the rest of their lives.
This brief post should be a wake up call to parents who get carried away by conspiracy theorists about immunizations and vaccines. These vaccines are needed and do a great job at keeping us alive and healthy. While we know there has been an increase in autism diagnosis in the last 15 to 20 years, we must not forget that correlation is not causation. As a parents, you need to join your pediatrician and stand on the same side as your children. These childhood diseases can be devastating. The eradication of childhood communicable diseases is largely hinged on its effective prevention.
I urge you to vaccinate your child if there is no contraindication and save the nation from the pain of a future epidemics like was experienced with influenza at the turn of the last century.
Luthy, K., Beckstrand, R., & Callister, L. (2010). Parental hesitation in immunizing children in Utah. Public Health Nursing, 27(1), 25-31. doi:10.1111/j.1525-1446.2009.00823.x Retrieved fromhttp://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=9&sid=2fb73a25-5d35-4a36-9920-f2186b78300f%40sessionmgr4009&hid=4002
Here at Omega Pediatrics we have do not fire families that do not want to vaccinate their children.It is, however, important for parents to know that the body of evidence continues to increase and so is the intolerance of vaccine refusal especially among communities and parents that have suffered dearly for a vaccine-preventable illness.
Feel free to call us to talk to a provider about vaccines or text VACCINE to 470-485 7337 for more information.
What are your thoughts about pediatric vaccines?
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Omega Pediatrics Difference:At Omega Pediatrics in Roswell, Georgia we understand the challenges that parents face when their children develop symptoms late in the day or after hours. Many pediatric offices are closed after 4 pm however we are open every weekday up to 9 pm for walk-ins and we have telemedicine via evisits for our known patients. Our clinic is one of the easily accessible pediatric primary care clinics in Roswell and Alpharetta. We provide pediatric primary care to families in the North Fulton area and we have families that live in Sandy Springs, Johns Creek, Duluth and Cumming.
Immunizations after-hours:One advantage of switching to Omega Pediatrics for your child’s primary care is that you can bring your child in for immunization after regular business hours. We provide this service because we have the passion for what we do and we want to be a comfortable and convenient service, not the ordinary pediatric doctor’s office.