Boston Babies is always looking for ways to provide information to readers on a myriad of hot topics, from current trends and best practices to gear, enrichment programs and family focused activities. The goal is to serve as a resource to families looking to raise children in and around the city.
In addition, Boston Babies is very fortunate to work with child care providers and feature posts by such professionals in early childhood development, education and the health industry. These posts are meant to convey information on important issues that plague parents. Differentiating fact from fiction will allow families to make educated decisions based on research, science and guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other similarly reputable resources versus sensational stories and myths suggested by celebrities.
In this media driven age, there is so much information immediately accessible at your fingertips, it is essential to be discerning when making decisions that will affect your family.
In the below post, Allyce DiNapoli, RN, speaks to the importance of vaccinations, including details about immunization and tips on how to keep your family healthy. She also discusses the controversy surrounding ABC after they hired an anti-vaccine advocate as a new co-host for their day time talk show.When Barbara Walters recently announced that model, actress, author, and anti-vaccination advocate Jenny McCarthy would become the new co-host of ABC’s day time talk show The View, doctors, researchers, scientists, and medical professionals alike began talking about the importance of immunizations. Since the announcement, many physicians have publicly expressed how they are worried that viewers could be influenced by her opinion about not vaccinating children. In 2007 McCarthy publicly made claims that vaccines led to her son’s autism. Today she continues to spread anti-vaccine rhetoric and has made it part of her personal brand.
The vaccine-autism controversy has been brewing ever since British doctor Andrew Wakefield published The Lancet in 1998. This study claimed the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine was linked to autism. Fourteen years later his study was retracted. Scientists conducted numerous studies and found NO scientific association between the MMR vaccine and autism. Wakefield lost his medical license and was discredited by the entire medical community. However, the damage was already done. Despite his false claims, today twenty percent of the population still believes vaccines are linked to autism.
Today more parents are in opposition of vaccinating their children. The results have been devastating. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2012 the worst whopping cough epidemic took place in over fifty years. The outbreak resulted in fifteen deaths, including fourteen infants not yet a year old. Physicians have seen an increase in the number of vaccine preventable illnesses as well as an increase in the number of vaccine preventable deaths since 2007. There was an increase of celebrities in 2007 promoting anti-vaccination propaganda. Many worry that McCarthy’s new seat next to Walters gives McCarthy a bigger platform and lends her credibility which could result in many parents not wanting to vaccinate.
The Importance of Vaccinations for Children
As parents you know what is best for your children. You are experts on the importance of car seats, baby gates, safety locks and the like. Most could probably give me a list of the top ten safest items on the market and what stores to find them in. However, most don’t realize that one of the “BEST” ways to protect your child is by making sure they receive all of their vaccinations. As a nurse working in pediatrics, I am constantly asked “Should I vaccinate my child?” The answer is YES! What most parents don’t realize is that childhood immunization has been called one of our society’s greatest health care achievements. The development and widespread use of vaccines has led to the reduction of once common childhood diseases.
Immunizations Can Save Your Child’s Life
Vaccines save lives! Vaccination saves more than three million people worldwide each year and prevents millions of others from suffering from preventable diseases. Diseases that once killed thousands of children in the past, have today been virtually eliminated primarily due to safe and effective vaccines. Vaccinations protect children from the serious complications of preventable diseases such as:
- Brain damage
How Do Immunizations Work?
Immunization (vaccination) works by preparing your child’s body to fight illness. It is a way of creating immunity to certain diseases by using small amounts of a killed (bacteria) or weakened (viruses) microorganism that cause a particular disease. Vaccines stimulate the immune system to react as if there were a real infection. It fends off the “infection” and remembers the organism so that it can fight it quickly should it enter the body later.
What Vaccines Your Child Needs:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following vaccines for your child:
- Chickenpox vaccine
- Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis Vaccine (DTap)
- Hepatitis A vaccine (HAV)
- Hepatitis B vaccine (HBV)
- HIB Vaccine
- Human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine
- Measels, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)
- Meningoccal (Meningitis vaccine)
- Pneumoccal vaccines (PCV, PPSV)
- Polio vaccine (IPV0
- Rotavirus Vaccine
Click to get a brief understanding of how dangerous these diseases can be, and how immunizing against them protects children and saves lives.
Stay on Schedule!
Vaccines are given according to a schedule that has been created based on extensive study and analysis. The vaccination schedule is designed to give immunized children the maximum protection as soon as safely possible.
Here you will find the American Academy of Pediatrics Vaccine schedule for 0-18 years old.
Vaccination for Life
Many of us think of vaccination as something that applies only to early childhood. What you might not know is getting immunized against contagious disease is a lifelong need. Vaccination should continue throughout childhood and into adolescents. Even for adults the annual flu shot is a scheduled part of keeping healthy!
What if You Choose Not to Vaccinate
If parents decide not to vaccinate their children, disease may return to our community in full force. Children who aren’t vaccinated can spread disease to other children who are too young to be vaccinated or those who are immunocompromised. This could result in long-term complications and even death for some children. Some vaccine preventable diseases are common in other countries and can be brought to the United States by international travelers. Your child, if unvaccinated, could potentially contract one of these diseases while traveling abroad or contract the disease in the states from non-vaccinated travelers.
Vaccine Safety and Concerns
The risks of vaccinations are small compared with the health risks associated with the disease they’re intended to prevent. The United States immunization program is one of the safest in the world. Vaccines are tested for years before they are approved. Some vaccines may cause mild reactions such as soreness at the injection site or fever but serious reactions are rare.
As a nurse we always tell our parents to educate before you vaccinate. Parents have the right to be informed about their child’s health needs. Consult with your pediatrician if you have any concerns regarding the immunization process. Organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), The American Academy of Family Physicians (AFP), and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are trust worthy and reliable sites to visit. These resources can help answer questions you may have. Remember immunizations are one the best means of protection against contagious disease. Diseases that once killed thousands of children like polio and smallpox are essentially eliminated today due to vaccines. Before you make up your mind about vaccinating your children, please seek information from respected medical professionals. Jenny McCarthy may have a new soapbox, but that doesn’t mean we have to listen.
Allyce is a Registered Nurse who has cared for children of all ages in and outside of the clinical setting. She has worked on pediatric units in some of Boston’s finest hospitals and rehabilitation facilities. Allyce earned her nursing degree from Regis College and is furthering her nursing education at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Allyce volunteers her time at health fairs across Massachusetts educating parents on the importance of hand hygiene, nutrition, vaccinations, fire prevention and safety, second-hand smoke, bicycle safety, CPR and First Aid.