One of the topics that parents want to discuss the most is immunizations. This is good, because getting your children immunized is also one of the best things you can do for your child’s health. We like to say that in the winter storm of life, immunizations are your child’s hat, boots and mittens. We also want you to know that we give our children all their vaccines.
1. General Info
Immunizations (also known as vaccines) give protection from some of the most serious infections that can affect children. When the immunization is given, the body responds to it in a way that protects your child in the event that he or she is ever exposed to the actual infection later on. It takes about two to four weeks for the body to respond. Some immunizations have to be given on 2 or more occasions to get a full response from the body. Some, like tetanus, need “booster” doses later to maintain the protection. Others, like influenza, have to be given every year. Every one is different, and is given in a way to provide the best protection.
2. Why so many, so soon?
Newborn babies are the most prone to getting serious infection, and need the most protection. Vaccines against infections which threaten babies are introduced as soon as the baby is old enough to respond to the vaccine. The first dose of hepatitis B vaccine is given at birth, because this infection can be passed from mother to baby. Many other immunizations are introduced at 2 months and 1 year.
3. Vaccine Schedule.
Falmouth Pediatric Associates follows an immunization schedule which fits with the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and other major health bodies.
Here is our schedule:
- Birth- hepatitis B
- 2 month- Pediarix (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and hepatitis B), hemophilus influenza B (HIB), pneumococcal 13, rotavirus
- 4 month-Pediarix, HIB, pneumococcal, rotavirus
- 6 month- Pediarix, HIB, pneumococcal, rotavirus
- 12 month- Measles, mumps rubella (MMR), varicella, hepatitis A
- 15 month- HIB, pneumococcal
- 18 month- diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (Tdap), hepatitis A
- 4 year- varicella
- 5 year- MMR, Tdap, polio
- 9+- human papilloma virus (2 doses 1 year apart)
- 11 year- Dtap, meningitis A/C
- 16 year- meningitis A/C, hepatitis A (if not received as infant)
- 18 year- meningitis B (currently selective)
In addition to immunizations, children are tested for hemoglobin (red blood cell count) and lead level at 9 months, 18 months and 3 years. Tuberculosis testing is done for children who are at risk.
4. Vaccine Safety
Immunizations are the most successful public health medicine ever invented.
Immunization safety is of paramount concern to everyone. While every effort must be taken to ensure safety, we must also remember that unfounded fears put young lives at risk. Vaccines are extensively tested prior to approval, and there is continuous surveillance for problems after marketing.
We do not recommend dividing the immunization schedule into more steps, or “splitting up shots” as it is commonly known. This results in delays for children receiving important immunizations, and increases the potential for missed doses.
There is no evidence to suggest that the current schedule exposes kids to “too many proteins”.
For you as a parent, it is very important that the information you review is from reliable sources. Unscientific, unsubstantiated information is not only misleading, it is harmful to our community.
None of the regularly used immunizations at Falmouth Pediatric Associates contain mercury.
Remember, immunizations protect your child. Let’s keep all our kids fully immunized!