Leave nothing to chance: Why you should consider immunizing your child

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Leave nothing to chance: Why you should consider immunizing your child

While some parents are caught in the thick of caring and providing for their family, they inadvertently neglect to protect their child’s health by not completing the prescribed set of vaccinations. What’s even more alarming is that some parents remain complacent because they believe that it is next to impossible for their youngster to be infected by any contagious disease.1

To protect is to immunize

Parents can safeguard their children’s health by following the prescribed immunization schedule. Vaccines have been proven to protect young kids and even adults from disease for generations.

How do vaccines work?               

Vaccinations strengthen children’s (and adult’s) immune systems.  Immunizing a child not only protects the life of your little one, it also protects the wellbeing of the entire community – particularly those who are too young to be vaccinated, immunocompromised or those who are medically unqualified to be vaccinated.

Vaccines work by creating an “imitation” infection but will not progress to an actual illness. Instead, it triggers the body’s immune system to activate, as if there is an actual infection.2 The body’s macrophages or white blood cells swallow up the bacteria from the “imitation” infection and leave parts of the invading bacteria called antigens behind. These antigens are then attacked by antibodies which are produced by B-lymphocytes.

But for vaccines to effectively work, all doses must be completely administered and the prescribed list of immunizations given until adolescence. This includes vaccines for the flu, HPV, Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) and meningococcal. These adolescent vaccines are equally important as infant-administered immunizations. 3

Historical truth

An article done by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that in 1974, Japan had almost eradicated pertussis or whooping cough due to an 80% vaccination rate among children. They only recorded 393 cases of infection nationwide and zero mortalities. Soon after though, rumors regarding the safety and necessity of the pertussis vaccine began to affect their vaccination program, leaving only 10% of infants vaccinated in 1976. Three years later, in 1979, Japan suffered from a terrible pertussis epidemic which left 41 dead and 13,000 infected. This prompted the Japanese government to launch an acellular pertussis vaccine which soon led to the decreased pertussis cases. 4

Today, communities are at risk of having history repeat itself. In several reports by the World Health Organization (WHO) and CDC, a resurgence of diseases like measles, diphtheria and pertussis have been seen across the globe, both in developed and emerging countries.5

Available vaccines

HPV or human papillomavirus is a common, highly-contagious, family of viruses that can cause cancer. Although certain HPV strains do resolve on their own, there are 12 potentially lethal types that can lead to no less than about eight variety of cancers. These cancers include cervical cancer, the 2nd leading female cancer; anogenital cancers such as vulvar, penile, and anal cancers; and head and neck cancers like oropharyngeal cancer, base of tongue cancer, and tonsil cancer.

To date, there are vaccines that can guard children from HPV. These include a bivalent or a vaccine that covers two strains; a quadrivalent, which is a vaccine that protects individuals from four strains; and a nonavalent vaccine that guards children against nine strains of HPV.

With all these medical options available today, parents now have the opportunity to fully safeguard the future of their loved ones. Mothers and fathers can now wisely invest in the health of their youngest family members and not leave the health of their children to chance. To learn more about how you can guard your youngster and your family against HPV, consult your doctor. ZH

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