MAYVILLE - The Chautauqua County Health Department is reminding area residents of the importance of immunications.
Immunizations can save a child's life. Because of advances in medical science, a child can be protected against more diseases than ever before. Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children, are no longer common in the U.S. - primarily due to safe and effective vaccines. Polio is one example of the impact that vaccines have in the United States. Polio was once America's most-feared disease, causing death and paralysis across the country, but today, thanks to vaccination, there are no reports of polio in the United States.
Vaccination is very safe and effective, according to the Health Department. Vaccines are only given to children after a long and careful review by scientists, doctors and health care professionals. Vaccines will involve some discomfort and may cause pain, redness, or tenderness at the site of injection, but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and trauma of the diseases these vaccines prevent. Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare, according to the Health Department. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccines are much greater than the possible side effects for almost all children, according to the Health Department.
Children in the U.S. still get vaccine-preventable diseases. In fact, resurgences of measles and whooping cough (pertussis) over the past few years. For example, more than 48,000 cases of whooping cough were reported in the U.S. in 2012. During this time, 20 deaths were reported - the majority of these deaths were in children younger than 3 months of age.
Unfortunately, some babies are too young to be completely vaccinated and some people may not be able to receive certain vaccinations due to severe allergies, weakened immune systems from conditions like leukemia, or other reasons. To help keep them safe, it is important that children who are able to get vaccinated are fully immunized. This helps prevent the spread of these diseases.
Immunizations can save families time and money. A child with a vaccine-preventable disease can be denied attendance at schools or daycare facilities. Some vaccine-preventable diseases can result in prolonged disabilities and can take a financial toll because of lost time at work, medical bills or long-term disability care. In contrast, getting vaccinated against these diseases is a good investment and usually covered by insurance or the Vaccines for Children program, which is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children from low-income families. To find out more about the VFC program, ask a health care professional or contact the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services at 1-866-604-6789.
Immunization protects future generations. Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago. For example, smallpox vaccination eradicated that disease worldwide. Children don't have to get smallpox shots anymore because the disease no longer exists. By vaccinating children against rubella (German measles), the risk that pregnant women will pass this virus on to their fetus or newborn has been dramatically decreased, and birth defects associated with that virus rarely are seen in the U. S. For more information on infant immunization, visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines.