Back to School: Clearing the air about immunizations

Posted at 9:10 AM, Sep 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-03 09:10:11-04

A visit to the doctor's office should be on your back to school 'must' list every year.

Immunizations are important to keep your child healthy throughout the year. We know there are common, often wide-spread misconceptions about the dangers of immunizations so we went to the experts at UBMD Pediatrics to clear it all up.

Dr. John Pastore, Medical Director of Pediatrics at the John R. Oishei Children's Hospital sat down with us and let us know if parents are worried, they really shouldn't be. "Parents worry about whether there will be any harm, questions regarding autism related to vaccines. They're safe overall. The most common side effect is soreness at the site and a mild fever," says Dr. Pastore.

In the United States, children are generally vaccinated against 14 preventable diseases during their childhood. Some of the most common vaccines include Polo, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), Hepatitis B, chicken pox (varicella) and DTP (diptheria, tetanus, pertussis).

Often, parents believe since so many other children are immunized, it will stop the spread of disease. That isn't the case. "Parents think these disease don't exist anymore and their child is not at risk. That's not true, because we live in a global community. Children travel to and from the US everyday," says Dr. Pastore. There are also cases of just one child spreading disease to several states, multiple countries and hundreds of children.

Here are some other tips:

  • Keep in mind "moving up" so you don't forget when your kids need a new round of shots. When they move up from preschool to elementary school, they'll need shots. When they move up from elementary to middle, and middle to high school, they'll also need shots.
  • If your kids are nervous about getting shots, give them some control. Have them choose which arm to get their shots in. Maybe institute a small reward system. Most of the time, your doctors and nurses are experts and great at distraction and getting it done quickly!
  • Always ask your pediatrician or nurses for advice, rather than going online to do research

According to the Center for Disease Control, vaccines are the most cost-effective and successful way to prevent the spread of disease. The CDC says that an estimated 381 million illnesses have been prevented by children receiving vaccinations from 1994-2016.


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