Weekly Feature

2017-08-10 / Editorial

Vaccinations necessary for all U.S. children

Bee Editorial

August, for many people, is known for hot summer days, back-to-school shopping and generally, celebrating the last bit of summer.

This is also the time of year many children head to the doctor’s office for their annual immunizations. So it’s fitting that August is National Immunization Awareness Month, which is dedicated to celebrating the benefits of vaccinations and highlighting their importance.

Getting children vaccinated is one of the most important things parents can do for their kids. According to the Centers for Disease Control, for children born between 1994 and 2016, vaccinations will prevent 381 million illnesses and 855,000 deaths in their lifetime. Each year, 50 children die from chicken pox alone, and more than 700 are hospitalized. The CDC also notes that diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children are no longer common in the U.S., thanks to safe and effective vaccines. For example, polio was once one of America’s most feared diseases, causing paralysis and death across the country. But thanks to vaccinations, the United States has been polio-free since 1979.

In New York State, it is required by law that students receive vaccinations, except under special circumstances or if it goes against their parents’ religious beliefs.

Yet, some people still don’t believe that vaccinations are necessary. This is primarily due to a study published in 1998 by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, claiming there was a link between autism and vaccinations. However, according to the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, countless studies proved that this was not true and even alleged that Wakefield falsified facts in his study. But the damage was done. In 2012, nearly 50,000 children suffered from whooping cough. Compare that to 1980, when only 2,900 children were diagnosed with the disease.

Parents who chose not to vaccinate their children often believe that their children are the only ones who will be impacted by this choice. Unfortunately, vaccines only prevent the spread of diseases when more people are vaccinated than not. This protects those who are unable to be vaccinated, such as newborns and those with chronic illnesses.

Currently, the U.S. has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in its history. The country’s longstanding vaccine safety system ensures that vaccines are as safe as possible.

Talk to your child’s doctor to find out which vaccines are recommended for them before they go back to school.

Return to top