Keeping children up to date on immunizations comes with many benefits, including long-term protection from disease and a reduced risk for complications.
Immunizations are also known as vaccinations. They can help protect your children from potentially life-threatening diseases. Getting your children vaccinated early on can help them stay safe as they grow older. It also gives them the chance to attend school and community events that require them to have this protection.
Here are ten vital benefits of keeping your children up to date on their immunizations. We also share information on how to contact Lompoc Valley Medical Center for all your pediatric care needs.
1. Get Early Protection
The earlier you have your children vaccinated, the sooner you can give them protection from life-threatening illnesses. Many vaccines need about two weeks before they take effect. Getting vaccinated early on can give the medicine enough time to work before your children contract a disease. Parents who wait to get their kids vaccinated face the risk of having them exposed to the disease before the medicine takes effect.
The CDC has a recommended immunization schedule. This schedule is designed to help kids gain immunity early in life before they are likely to be exposed to harmful diseases. Ask your pediatrician when your children should be vaccinated based on this schedule. Better yet, talk to your doctor while you are pregnant. Your doctor can talk about vaccines your child will need at birth and during their earliest months of life.
2. Enhance Protection
Some vaccines must be given more than once to offer the greatest protection. This is because the effects of some vaccines wear off over time. Some diseases, like the flu and COVID-19, have different strains annually that require new vaccines or boosters. Keeping your kids up to date on their immunizations can enhance their protection from diseases like these.
The CDC adds that some kids may need extra doses of vaccines in case the first dose doesn’t produce enough antibodies. Ask your pediatrician whether your kids need extra shots or boosters. Your doctor can perform an exam, review your kids’ medical history, and make sure they get extra shots when needed.
3. Benefit From Long-Term Protection
Vaccines can enhance your children’s immune systems long after they have stopped nursing or drinking breast milk. Additional vaccines and boosters can also give this added protection year after year.
One vaccine for each disease may not protect your children for the rest of their lives. However, multiple immunizations can often give them long-term protection. Your doctor can help you find out which vaccines will be needed again and when. This can help your children stay protected long-term.
4. Avoid Disease-Related Complications
Babies and young children are often more vulnerable to disease complications than older children and adults. For instance, the CDC reports that whooping cough can be deadly for babies under one year old. In comparison, adults who get whooping cough may only suffer from a cough that sticks around for several weeks.
Some vaccines may not prevent kids from getting the disease, but they can be effective at preventing complications. For example, the COVID-19 vaccine may not stop kids from getting this disease. However, it can prevent kids from being hospitalized if they do get COVID-19, reports the CDC. Long-term complications from COVID-19 are also known as “long COVID.” Long COVID symptoms include heart problems, diarrhea, depression, and many others, adds the CDC.
5. Prevent the Spreading Of Illness
Keeping your child up to date on their vaccines can prevent them from spreading diseases to others who aren’t protected. Some people cannot get vaccinated for various health and personal reasons.
For instance, people with weakened immune systems cannot get vaccinated. This includes people with HIV, AIDS, or cancer, says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Some people with serious allergies also cannot get vaccinated. There are even groups of people who do get vaccinated but do not have a strong immune response to the vaccines. This leaves them highly vulnerable to diseases.
Being vaccinated prevents the spreading of illness in the community. If your children are vaccinated, they can protect their peers and others in the community who aren’t.
6. Attend School Without Delay
Many schools require children to be up to date on vaccinations before they can start the new school year. This is so they can help protect all children from diseases. This includes those who cannot be vaccinated for various reasons.
Children who cannot present proof of vaccination are required to stay at home until they are up to date. This can put them behind in their school work and prevent them from participating in school activities. Getting your children vaccinated on time can allow them to start the new school year without a delay.
7. Join Sports Teams Without Delay
Most school and community sports teams require kids to be vaccinated before they can attend practice. In the fall, most sports teams start practicing before classes begin.
Kids who aren’t up to date on immunizations usually need to stay at home until they’re fully up to date. Many times, these children are unable to try out for the team positions they want. They also miss out on games and other sports-related events.
If your children plan on playing sports during the new school year, get them the latest vaccines. This will allow them to join sports teams without having to wait.
8. Gain the Opportunity To Travel
Many foreign countries require U.S. citizens to have certain vaccinations before they are allowed entry. Polio and yellow fever are some of the various vaccinations required by other countries, reports the HHS. The COVID-19 vaccine is now also required of most U.S. travelers who step foot in other countries.
Your children will need to be up to date on vaccines before they can travel to another country. Summer vacations, school trips, and exchange student programs are all situations that may require your children to have the latest vaccines.
I If your children have plans to travel to another country, look up that country’s vaccine requirements. Then, take your kids to the doctor to ensure they are up to date.
9. Participate In Community Events
Some communities, organizations, and retailers regard certain diseases as serious public health threats. There are certain towns, cities, communities, and retailers in the U.S. that won’t allow entry unless you show proof of vaccination for certain diseases, such as COVID-19.
If your children are up to date on their vaccines, they may be allowed to attend certain community events that require proof of vaccination.
10. Save On Hospitalization Costs
Many diseases for which vaccinations exist can lead to serious health problems and complications. For example, polio can lead to paralysis. Measles can lead to pneumonia and blindness. Yellow fever can lead to kidney failure and coma.
Long COVID can also lead to a wide range of complications. The CDC says some people who have severe COVID-19 experience autoimmune problems. These conditions usually last several weeks or months after their illnesses begin. It adds that people who had severe COVID-19 symptoms are likely to develop new health conditions like diabetes and heart problems.
All these types of health problems can end up being extremely costly. Many require hospitalization and years of intensive treatment. However, being up to date on vaccines can help you avoid high costs related to hospitalization. In addition, getting your kids vaccinated can save you the heartache that comes with watching your children experience pain and suffering related to poor health.
How Often Should Children Be Vaccinated?
Many primary care doctors and pediatricians use the CDC’s Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule to determine when your kids should be vaccinated. This is usually the same schedule used as a reference by schools and communities that host public events.
Vaccination requirements for children vary from state to state. If immunizations are not required by your kids’ school, your pediatrician can talk to you in greater detail about the benefits and importance of having them vaccinated.
Most kids receive their initial round of vaccine doses before the age of 15 months. As they grow older, the number of vaccinations they need may taper off, especially as their immune systems become stronger. However, it’s vital to get routine vaccinations for diseases like the flu and COVID-19 at least once a year. This is because these diseases are constantly mutating and changing, and older vaccines may not work at helping your children build immunity.
You can also set a good example for your children by staying up to date on your own vaccinations. Make appointments for the entire family so everyone can get vaccinated simultaneously. If your children are scared about the idea of getting vaccinated, you can have them watch you get yours first to help them feel calmer.
Pediatric Services At Lompoc Valley Medical Center
Lompoc Valley Medical Center provides a wide range of pediatric services for newborns and children. We perform immunizations and can help you and your child stay up to date on all immunizations before every new school year. Contact us today at (805) 737-3382 to request an appointment and learn more about our many healthcare services.