In recognition of National Immunization Awareness Month in August, McFarland Clinic is sharing tips and information about vaccines for people of all ages. In this installment, we look at the importance of vaccines for babies and young children.
Vaccines give parents the power to protect their children from serious diseases. One of the most important things a parent can do to protect their child’s health is getting their child vaccinated according to the recommended immunization schedule.
Vaccines protect babies from 14 diseases by the time they reach 2 years of age. It is very important that babies receive all doses of each vaccine and receive each vaccination on time. After 6 months of age, CDC recommends children receive a yearly flu vaccine. Children 6 months through 8 years of age who are getting the flu vaccine for the first time should get two doses of flu vaccine, spaced at least 28 days apart. Children are also due for additional doses of vaccines between 4 and 6 years of age. If a child falls behind the recommended immunization schedule, the child’s doctor can still give vaccines to “catch up” the child before adolescence.
Child care facilities, preschool programs and schools are prone to disease outbreaks. Children in these settings can easily spread illnesses to one another due to poor hand washing, not covering their coughs and sneezes, and other factors related to interacting in crowded environments.
Unvaccinated children are not only at increased risk for disease, but they can also spread disease to others in their play groups, child care centers, classroom, and communities – including babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated and people who might not be able to receive certain vaccines due to cancer or other health conditions.