Many infectious diseases have been reduced because of children vaccinations , such as measles and diphtheria. Effective vaccination campaigns have made it possible to eradicate diseases such as Smallpox and Polio in the US. Unlike other developed countries where extensive immunization programs were used, American children are very rarely affected by the devastating results of these diseases.
The most important thing to show for children vaccinations is their safety and effectiveness for children, infants, and adults. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) places a high priority on the safety and efficacy of vaccines. The FDA’s Center for Biological Evaluation and Research (CBER) is responsible for ensuring vaccine availability, safety, and effectiveness in the United States.
Many of today’s parents do not realize how many diseases can be prevented with vaccines. There is a danger in this country of returning to some rare or nonexistent diseases if too many people refuse to get vaccinated or do not vaccinate their children.
Even though children vaccinations have prevented these diseases and deaths, viruses and bacteria still cause illness in those who do not receive vaccinations and are unprotected. The United States has not experienced a sustained outbreak of measles since 2000, but sporadic cases still occur mainly among unvaccinated travelers from other countries and returnees from overseas.
In addition to its highly contagious nature, measles has significant consequences such as pneumonia, brain enlargement, and death. Viral disease outbreaks, such as measles, serve as a reminder that they are only a plane journey away and that being vaccinated is the key to avoiding becoming sick.
Risks and benefits of children vaccination
Vaccines are medicines. A vaccine has both benefits and risks, and while they are generally very effective, no vaccine is 100% effective against every disease or completely safe for everyone. Minor side effects usually last only a short time. It is possible, for instance, to experience some pain or a slight fever following an injection. Rarely, serious reactions to vaccines may occur.
According to Marion Gruber, director of CBER’s Office of Vaccine Research and Review, “Parents should know that there is far less risk of harm from a vaccine than from contracting a serious infectious disease.” “Vaccinating children is very important for them to start their lives healthy.”
Speak to your doctor if you have any concerns about situations or potential adverse reactions. Additionally, vaccine labels are FDA-approved and provide useful information. Any past problems with vaccinations and any allergic events that may develop after getting them should be reported to your doctor.
How vaccines work
Vaccines work by priming the body’s immune system for future attacks by certain diseases, whether caused by viruses or bacteria. Vaccines contain weakened bacteria or viruses, or parts of them, and mimic these disease-causing agents (called antigens). As a result of vaccination, the immune system considers the antigens in the vaccine to be foreign substances that should not be present in the body but do not cause illness in the person receiving the vaccine. After receiving the vaccine, if the actual disease-causing virus or bacteria enters the body, the immune system will be ready, responding quickly and strongly to attack the disease-causing agent to prevent the person from being ill. Vaccines are often given by injection, but some are given by mouth or through a nasal spray.
There are several types of children vaccination that are routinely administered:
- Live attenuated (weakened) viruses: people with weak immune systems should consult their doctor before receiving these vaccines since they contain a live virus weakened during the manufacturing process for it not to cause disease. Chickenpox and rotavirus vaccines and measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines are examples of these vaccines.
- Inactivated (killed) viruses: These vaccines include an inactivated virus that cannot cause disease but is still recognized by the body, causing antibodies to be produced against it. This vaccination may be given to those who have weakened immune systems. Polio and hepatitis A vaccinations are two examples of these vaccines.
- Subunits: A portion or “subunit” of a bacteria or virus that causes a disease can provide adequate protection in some cases. In these cases, it suffices to expose only the important parts of the organism to the immune response. Influenza (flu) vaccines are subunit vaccines manufactured from parts of the virus that causes the disease.
- Toxoids: Some bacteria cause illness in people by the poisonous substances they produce (a toxin). The scientists found that if the toxins were attenuated to “detoxified,” they did not cause the disease. Some examples of vaccines that contain toxoids are those that prevent tetanus and diphtheria.
- Recombinant: These vaccines are made through genetic engineering, a process, and method by which the genetic material of an organism is manipulated. An example of this type of vaccine is preventing certain diseases caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), such as cervical cancer. In this case, the genes that encode a specific protein of each of the types of HPV included in the vaccine are expressed in yeast to produce large amounts of the protein. The protein that is produced is purified and used to make the vaccine. Since the vaccine contains only one protein and not the entire virus, it cannot cause HPV infection. It is, therefore, the body’s immune response to the recombinant protein (s) that protects against infection by the virus in its natural state.
- Polysaccharides: Protect against certain disease-causing bacteria. The main antigens in these vaccines are sugar-like substances called polysaccharides extracted from bacteria to make them. However, vaccines made exclusively with purified polysaccharides are only effective in children of a certain age and adults. Pneumovax 23, a vaccine to prevent pneumococcal disease caused by 23 different strains, is an example of a polysaccharide vaccine.
- Conjugated: Polysaccharide-only vaccines are ineffective in young children because their immune systems have not yet fully developed. To create vaccines that protect these children against diseases caused by certain bacteria, polysaccharides are attached to a protein so that the immune system can recognize and respond to them. The protein acts as a “carrier” for the vaccine component that will produce protective antibodies in the body. Examples of conjugate vaccines prevent invasive diseases caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).
Steps to take when vaccinating your child
Studying the Vaccine Fact Sheets
There is information on the vaccine’s benefits and risks on these sheets. You are legally required to receive them from medical professionals.
You should discuss vaccine risks and benefits with your doctor
You can learn about the risks and benefits of children vaccinations and the risks involved in not getting vaccines. Vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, diphtheria, and pertussis, harm or kill children.
Before being vaccinated, tell your doctor about any problems you have
Certain vaccines and their ingredients can cause problems for people who are sick or have had certain allergic reactions in the past. Some influenza vaccines (flu) contain eggs, so the medical professional must be informed if a child suffers from an egg allergy.
Natural latex is sometimes used as part of the packaging of some vaccines, which can cause allergic reactions in individuals sensitive to this substance; As a result, it’s important to alert medical professionals before administering those vaccines.
It is also especially important to talk with your doctor about which vaccines should or should not be given to children with weak immune systems.
Have other questions regarding vaccinations for children? Contact us today!
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