Why Vaccinations Are Important
Vaccinations are some of the most important tools available for preventing disease. Vaccinations not only protect children from developing serious diseases but also protect the community by reducing the spread of infectious disease.
Infectious diseases spread from person to person. If enough people are immunized, the disease may not be transmitted through a population, thus protecting everyone. This concept is called "herd immunity." The concept is that the strongest (those immunized) protect the weakest (those not immunized). Diseases such as smallpox and polio have nearly disappeared because of immunization.
Children get many immunizations during childhood. A community awareness campaign called Every Child by Two urges parents to make sure their children are protected against the diseases of childhood before the child reaches 2 years of age.
Parents should consult their doctors about which vaccines their children should have and when. Keep track of your children's immunizations yourself. You will be asked for these records when the child enrolls in school and throughout the child's school career.
The injection process for childhood vaccinations may sometimes be distressing for parents. Information explaining what parents can do before, during, and after shots is available from the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and state health organizations.
Each January, the AAP, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the CDC, and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) issue a recommended childhood immunization schedule. Changes may be made during the year if necessary.
The CDC annually publishes the most current childhood immunization schedule. For more information, see the CDC web site (http://www.cdc.gov/). Listed below are the routine vaccinations recommended as of January 2016.