This post, Vaccination Awareness: Should I Vaccinate my Kids, is sponsored by the Florida Department of Health; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Our daughter, B, was born a month early and spent her first 13 days in the NICU. Looking at her now as a strong and independent 6-year-old it is hard to believe she started her life hooked up to all sorts of wires and tubes.
While 13 days may not sound like a lot of time to some, when you are a mom just praying to take your baby home, it feels like a lifetime. During those days, we learned we had control of very little things in our lives, especially, our daughter's life. During the day, friends would stop by to check in on us and I made it my mission to pump as often as I could. I felt like milk was the one thing I could do to help B.
It is interesting how when we are forced to experience adversity like a sick child you quickly learn that you must become their advocate, ask tons of questions and surround yourself with the best experts you can find. Since birth, I have made it my job to be B's advocate especially with doctors. I thank God that I did and for the amazing medical community. Today, you would have never known B was a little preemie who started life in the NICU instead of our home.
Vaccination Awareness: Should I Vaccinate my Kids?
I still have the notes on my phone from each of our visits with our pediatrician. I had so many questions I wanted to make sure I did not forget any. Questions like: When will she need a bigger car seat? Are vaccines safe? Are they necessary and if so when? Is it normal that she is bucking back when I try to feed her?
Our pediatrician has been with us since B was in the NICU and I trust his expertise and his advice. I have learned that googling medical questions can take you down the wrong path, instead it is best to have trusted online resources to give you the facts. Why can't kids come with a guidebook?
I realize that not all parents may have found a pediatrician that they connect with and trust implicitly or get to see often enough. And that is why I wanted to share a great resource with you, Florida Department of Health's The Power to Protect website.
They understand that as parents we have so much information available to us, sorting fact from myth and knowing which sources to trust can be confusing. Their goal is to empower us as parents with the facts about vaccinations! They have gathered the most frequently asked questions and provided evidence-based answers from the most trusted and respected public health organizations, physicians and scientists in the country. Below are some of the questions from their site that resonated the most with me.
Are Vaccinations Safe
We are fortunate to live in the U.S. where the vaccine safety system monitors to ensure that US vaccines are as safe as possible. Currently, we have the safest vaccine supply in our history.
Rigorous testing is gone into all vaccines for safety. Ultimately, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determines if they are safe, effective and that the benefits far outweigh the risks. Even after the approval they are continuously monitored for safety.
Are these diseases still really a threat to my child?
This question really hit home for me because the answer reminded me of a friend whose son was hospitalized as a toddler with whooping cough. When she said it I immediately questioned, whooping cough? She said yes whooping cough that disease that modern day medicine basically eradicated is infecting kids because some kids are not getting vaccinations.
On the website, The Power to Protect they share that
Vaccines do such a great job of preventing diseases that it’s easy to forget what it was like before them. Before the DTaP vaccine for example, around 9,000 children die every year from whooping cough but, today that number is less than 20. However, this disease and others are making a comeback. In fact, we see between 10,000 and 50,000 reported cases of whooping cough each year across every state in the U.S., and in 2014 a measles outbreak affected people in 27 states. Without vaccines, we would experience outbreaks of many preventable diseases that we have worked so hard to reduce or eliminate over the years.
As parents we all want what is best for our kids. And vaccines give parents and healthcare providers the power to protect children from preventable childhood diseases as they grow into adults.
As a parent, you have the power to immunize children and protect them from dangerous diseases throughout their lifespan. Sticking to the schedule is the best way to protect your child. Your doctor will track your child's immunization status. At every visit make sure to ask if your child is up to date on their vaccinations. Want to do your research before speaking to your doctor? Check out the CDC for a vaccination schedule.
Keep the Vaccination Conversation Going
As parents, we must make tough choices regarding our children’s health and welfare every day. The decision to vaccinate, however, should be an easy one. As a health care provider, patients and parents trust your opinion more than anyone else’s when it comes to immunizations. The power to protect is yours.
The message is clear:
- Prioritize Vaccination
- Protect Your Loved Ones
- Pass the Protection On
What questions do you have about Vaccinating Kids?