With so many ways to get information, doctors say many times patients come in confused and concerned about treatments, especially when it comes to vaccines for their children.
Dr. Stephanie Stovall, a pediatric infectious disease specialist with the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, says it’s the part of going to the doctor that can cause anxiety and questions for parents. “Basically, how I try to approach it is to ask them what they are worried about. Most of the time the thing that they’re worried about is often a side effect or something that they’ve heard that probably isn’t related to the vaccine.”
Starting at two months old, children receive several vaccines including measles, mumps, rubella, meningococcal, chicken pox, whooping cough, and influenza. “We have these deadly, potentially transmissible diseases. These diseases that cause outbreaks and that spread so easily that we can vaccinate for,” said Dr. Stovall.
But many parents worry the vaccines aren’t safe for children. “MMR and varicella are live viruses vaccines. There are a lot of people who are really concerned about putting a live virus into their child, not recognizing necessarily that these vaccines are weakened, and that’s what allows the immune system to respond,” said Dr. Stovall.
Children typically receive vaccines before starting school, at ages 4 and 6, and then again around ages 11 and 12. “One of the things we see a lot in that age range when kids start going to school is that they get lots of illnesses,” said Dr. Stovall.
But serious and deadly illnesses can be prevented if children are vaccinated. “There have been huge outbreaks in the United States of diseases that we haven’t seen in years, just in the last couple of years that have primarily been spanned by the fact that we have so many unvaccinated populations now,” said Dr. Stovall.
Doctors say if parents have concerns about any vaccine, they should talk to their child’s pediatrician to learn more about the immunization. The overall goal is to keep children healthy and protected from illness.
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