Outbreaks of preventable diseases (such as measles) occur when parents decide not to vaccinate their children. However, immunization is one of the best ways to keep children healthy. Why are vaccines so important?
- They can save your child’s life. Most childhood vaccines are 90 to 99 percent effective in preventing disease. Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children have been eliminated completely, and others are on the brink of extinction due to safe and effective vaccines. For example, polio was once America’s most-feared disease. In 1952, there were over 57,000 cases in the U.S. and over 3,000 deaths. But today, thanks to vaccination, there are no reports of polio in the U.S. Vaccination requirements for Kentucky children (all grades and vaccines).
- They are safe. Before a vaccine is ever approved and licensed, it goes through years of testing for safety and effectiveness. Organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) all strongly support protecting children with recommended vaccinations. The World Health Organization calls vaccines “one of the most successful and cost-effective public health interventions,” which help prevent “an estimated 2.5 million child deaths every year in all age groups from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and measles.”
- They can save your family time and money. A child with a vaccine-preventable disease can be kept out of school or daycare facilities. A prolonged illness can take a financial toll because of lost time at work and medical care. In comparison, getting vaccinated against the disease is a good investment and is usually covered by insurance.
As a responsible parent, it’s important for you to be fully informed. If you have reservations about particular vaccines, discuss your concerns with your child’s doctor.