No matter what your age, getting shots is never fun. But, vaccines are important and well worth the momentary discomfort in order to be protected against some pretty nasty diseases. Since August is National Immunization Awareness Month, we want to take a minute to review the importance of getting your child’s vaccinations up to date.
- Your child won’t be at risk of complications or even death from vaccine-preventable diseases. The truth is that 50,000 adults in the U.S. die each year from these illnesses — more than die from either HIV/AIDS or breast cancer. By protecting your child now, he or she won’t be included in this statistic.
- You’re protecting others. Some people have compromised immune systems or are too young to get vaccinated. By making sure your family is up to date on vaccines, you’ll be helping protect those that can’t get the shots for any reason. But if too many people fail to get vaccinated, the “herd immunity” factor will end and diseases will be more likely to spread.
- Your doctor will thank you. More and more pediatricians around the U.S. are requiring their patients to be fully vaccinated. Because your doctor likely sees infants in his or her practice, it’s important to protect them. Too many patients who aren’t vaccinated could put these little ones at increased risk.
- You’ll have less school-related paperwork. Sure, you can opt out of getting vaccinations before your child starts the school year, but states are increasingly making that harder. Illinois now legally requires that parents who file religious exemptions get a certificate signed by a health care provider. This means you’ll have to find a doctor who’s willing to sign off on your child skipping vaccines — not so easy to do — and then get the paperwork filed before the vaccine deadline.
Skipping vaccines can put your child and other people at risk. Plus, it creates much more hassle for you. This August, celebrate National Immunization Awareness Month by getting your kids fully protected.