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Vaccinations important for kids

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

by Marcy Hanson, Sanders County Ledger

The Sanders County Public Health Department reminds everyone that it is National Immunization Week April 24 - May. Parents are urged to get appropriate vaccinations for their children either through their family physician or at the County Health Department.

In 1789 the first case of polio was documented and by 1952 it reached its peak in the United States with more than 21,000 paralyzed in its wake. With the introduction of polio vaccine, polio in America and other developed countries has all but been eradicated. Throughout history, vaccines have proven to be the most cost effective and successful public health tools for combating childhood disease.

Because of the advancement of highly effective vaccines, we have been able to decrease the amount of illness and tragedy caused by many childhood illnesses, but this will only continue if we actively immunize the children in our community.

Many people believe that their child will be safe without vaccination because so many of their child's peers have been vaccinated. This theory, called herd immunity, has become a popular mainstay for many parents. Unfortunately, it does not guarantee your child's safety.

Another reason parents often choose not to vaccinate their child is fear of health risks such as autism. Contrary to mass media and celebrity reviews, there is no scientific link between autism and vaccines. In fact, the research and work published by the Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the physician who started the assault on vaccinations and related autism has been discredited.

Some parents may also feel that there are too many vaccines required for their child at doctor or clinic visits. While it is true that today our children receive more vaccinations than in the past, this is due to the fact that scientific advances have made it possible to protect against a greater number of illnesses. It is completely safe for your child to receive protection against multiple illnesses in a single dose. That means your child can receive protection from many illnesses with few shots. It is up to parents and healthcare providers to continue the battle against childhood disease and protect the safety of our community. Together we can become a united front to ensure the health of our children.

For more information on vaccines, please contact your primary care physician or the Sanders County Health Department at 827-6931.

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