More than one in ten parents delay or skip reccommended vaccines for their children under six years of age, a new survey reported last week. This means that more than two million infants and young children may not be fully protected from many preventable diseases. Is your child on schedule? Has he or she had the recommended vaccinations against the fourteen childhood diseases, in two dozen separated doses?
Many parents think putting off some of the shots until the child is older is safer than the suggested schedule. Others are worried about the autism -vaccine association, which was scientifically disproved. Often, because we don’t see as many severe cases of childhood diseases, parents believe that they have been permanently wiped out and vaccines are not necessary. But these diseases are still around just waiting for children who have not been protected. Whooping cough, for instance, has recently raised its ugly head (especially in California), and infectious disease experts have found that the vaccine loses its effectiveness after three years, more quickly than was previously thought.
The survey was conducted on 750 parents of children younger than six last year and released in the journal Pediatrics. It has been praised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “important and well done” and indicates doctors need to do a better job of communicating this information with parents.
Now is a good time to check with your pediatrician to confirm that your child is on schedule for these protective shots. Don’t let your child be one of the 2,000,000 infants and young children who are not protected.