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Keeping Track: Baby, Teen or In-Between, It’s Probably Vaccination Time

By Jill I. Ratner | Pediatrics

Baby, teen, or somewhere in-between – it doesn’t matter.  Your child has an upcoming wellness visit to the pediatrician’s office and can expect another vaccination – or two or three. 

In fact, by the time a child has reached age 2, he or she should have received enough shots to be immunized against 14 serious diseases: chickenpox (varicella), diphtheria, hepatitis A and B, Hib disease, measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, pneumococcal infection, rotavirus, rubella, tetanus, and influenza.  Even preteens and teens will require additional vaccinations and booster shots.

Why So Many Pokes?

Health experts throughout the country agree that vaccination schedules provide children with ultimate protection at the right time — when they are most vulnerable to the kinds of infections that once routinely killed babies and the very young.  Vaccination schedules are based on standards set by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Refer to the CareMount Pediatrics vaccination schedules below.

How Can Parents Help?

Parents can take much of the “concern” — and “scare” — out of vaccinations by preparing for their child’s next doctor visit. Here are some tips:

  • Ask your CareMount pediatrician to make your child’s immunization records available through the patient portal — https://www.caremountmedical.com/patient-resources/patient-portal You can access the portal from your computer or mobile devices.
  • Review the CareMount immunization schedules in advance to determine what vaccines are due next. This information is particularly important if your child is starting or returning to school.
  • Enroll your child in the CareMount patient-call program, a free service that offers you reminders by phone or mail about your child’s next vaccination appointment.
  • Read as much as possible about scheduled vaccines. Call your pediatrician with questions or bring the questions with you to your child’s visit.
  • Take a toy, book, or blanket with you to the doctor’s office to help comfort your child.
  • Be honest. If your child is older, tell him or her to expect another vaccination, but assure the child the process takes just seconds and causes only a quick pinch or sting.
  • Know that your child can “catch up” with his or her scheduled vaccinations at any time, especially if the child missed one during a regular wellness visit.

Despite some parents’ fears, the frequency of vaccinations will not overwhelm a child’s immune system.   All our immune systems, including those of healthy infants and children, fight off thousands of germs daily.   The ingredients of vaccines are too weak to cause actual illness, but strong enough to elicit an immune response in the body.  That response creates cellular “soldiers”, which recognize and destroy deadly antigens should your child later be exposed to them.

It’s an Ethical Issue

Vaccinations are not just about keeping your child healthy.  They protect you as parents, everyone else in your family and the community at large. Authors of a study of a December 2014 measles outbreak, which began in California and spread to other states, Mexico and Canada, attributed the outbreak to “under-immunization,” namely parents’ failure to have their children vaccinated.  By immunizing our children, we are protecting other people’s health as well, including those who are not candidates for vaccinations due to allergies or illness.

Physicians at CareMount Pediatrics emphasize adherence to recommended vaccination schedules to ensure the highest quality of care and protection to families and society at large.  CareMount policies are based on guidelines developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and our focus on keeping all of our children healthy.

For more specifics about CareMount’s vaccination policy, please go to https://www.caremountmedical.com/services-specialties/pediatrics/immunizations