Probably the biggest miracles of medicine are the vaccines that protect our children from diseases most of you may have heard of but never saw. It would be rare for a parent of an infant today to hear about a neighbor’s child dying from HIB meningitis; a teenager becoming deaf or even sterile from the Mumps; or a young child who died suddenly from epiglottis. That is the marvel of vaccines.
Because of the discredited study linking autism to the MMR vaccines, anti-vaccine groups have placed doubt in our minds as to whether we should even vaccinate our children and we are seeing small outbreaks of some of these killer diseases. This has created a ‘sky is falling’ worry in parents. Before we go into the whats and whys, please view this short video on vaccines:
We at Kids Care strongly believe in vaccines. Here is why:
HIB (Haemophilus influenza Type B)
This is a group of bacteria that cause a few different diseases. It is NOT the flu, even though the name contains the word influenza. All HIB diseases cause fever. Depending on where the infection hits will determine the other symptoms:
- Meningitis. Someone with meningitis may have a headache and a stiff neck, and might throw up. Meningitis is an infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, and Hib was responsible for 50 to 65 percent of meningitis cases before the vaccine was introduced in the mid-1980s. Meningitis is a serious condition that can cause permanent brain damage and even death.
- Pneumonia. Someone with pneumonia will have a cough and problems with breathing.
- Epiglottitis. This is an infection and swelling of the epiglottis, and can cause life-threatening airway obstructions. This severe throat infection causes a sore throat, drooling, and serious breathing trouble. This disease is often fatal due to sudden blockage of the airway.
- Cellulitis. Someone with this skin infection may have skin that is red and tender.
- Arthritis. This is a joint infection. People with arthritis from Hib bacteria may notice one of their joints is red, swollen, and very sore.
- Ear infections from Hib can cause severe ear pain, perforation of the eardrum and deafness. Often HIB ear infections can progress to meningitis.
Since the universal introduction of the HIB vaccine, infections with HIB have virtually disappeared. Unfortunately, the bacteria is still present and just waiting for a susceptible person to attack.
Also known as Whooping cough, this disease is making a dramatic comeback due to lower immunization rates. Young infants and older adults are most susceptible to Pertussis. It is not uncommon for newborns or infants to develop life-threatening infections due to this bacteria. Pertussis (also known as whooping cough or 100-day cough) is a highly contagious bacterial disease initially, symptoms are usually similar to those of the common cold with a runny nose, fever, and mild cough. This is then followed by weeks of severe coughing fits. Following a fit of coughing, a high-pitched whoop sound or gasp may occur as the person breathes in. The coughing may last for 10 or more weeks, hence the phrase "100-day cough" A person may cough so hard that they vomit, break ribs, or become very tired from the effort. Children less than one-year-old may have little or no cough and instead have periods where they do not breathe. The time between infection and the onset of symptoms is usually seven to ten days. Disease may occur in those who have been vaccinated, but symptoms are typically milder.
Due to several causes, including vaccine refusal, there have been several outbreaks as of late.
This graph shows reported pertussis incidence (per 100,000 persons) by age group in the United States from 1990–2014. Infants aged <1 year, who are at greatest risk for serious disease and death, continue to have the highest reported rate of pertussis. School-aged children 7 to 10 years continue to contribute a significant proportion of reported pertussis cases.
Measles, also called rubeola, is a highly contagious respiratory infection that's caused by a virus. It causes a total-body skin rash and flu-like symptoms, including a fever, cough, and runny nose. Though rare in the United States, 20 million cases happen worldwide every year. There have been several outbreaks in this country over the last few years, usually from people who have traveled to know endemic areas.
Measles is highly contagious — 90% of people who haven't been vaccinated for measles will get it if they are near an infected person. Measles spreads when people breathe in or have direct contact with virus-infected fluid, such as the droplets sprayed into the air when someone with measles sneezes or coughs. A person who is exposed to the virus might not show symptoms until 8-10 days later.
Complications are more likely in children with a poor immune system (such as those with leukemia or HIV), those who are malnourished, children aged under 5 years and adults. Many malnourished children in the world die when they get measles, usually from a secondary lung infection (pneumonia). There are still the occasional reports of children in the UK who die from complications of measles. These children have usually not been immunized.
Rotavirus disease is most common in infants and young children. However, older children and adults also can get sick from rotavirus. Once a person has been exposed to rotavirus, it takes about 2 days for the symptoms to appear. Children who get infected may have severe watery diarrhea, often with vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain. Vomiting and watery diarrhea can last from 3 to 8 days. Additional symptoms may include loss of appetite and dehydration (loss of body fluids), which can be especially dangerous for infants and young children. It is not uncommon to have to hospitalize young infants for IV fluids during rotavirus infections.
Mumps is a viral infection that causes painful swelling of the parotid glands on the sides of the jaws.
The well-known hallmark of mumps is swelling and pain in the parotid glands — a child might look like a hamster with food in its cheeks. The glands usually become increasingly swollen and painful over a period of 1-3 days. The pain gets worse when the child swallows, talks, chews or drinks acidic juices (like orange juice). Mumps can lead to inflammation and swelling of the brain and other organs, although this is not common. Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) are both rare complications of mumps. Other complications are loss of hearing. Symptoms appear in the first week after the parotid glands begin to swell and may include: high fever, stiff neck, headache, nausea and vomiting, drowsiness, convulsions, and other signs of brain involvement.
Mumps in adolescent and adult males may also result in the development of orchitis, an inflammation of the testicles. Usually, one testicle becomes swollen and painful about 7-10 days after the parotids swell. This is accompanied by a high fever, shaking chills, headache, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain that can sometimes be mistaken for appendicitis if the right testicle is affected. Sterility is possible after this complication.
Meningococcal disease can refer to any illness that is caused by the type of bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis, also known as meningococcus [muh-ning-goh-KOK-us]. These illnesses are often severe and include infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia).
The onset of meningococcal disease is sudden, and often children go to bed with mild flu symptoms and become gravely ill by the morning.
Meningitis from this bacteria starts with sudden onset of fever, headache, and stiff neck This progresses quickly to severe photophobia and rapid, altered status changes. Unfortunately, death is a common result of this diseases.
Septicemia, the other hallmark complication of meningococcal disease is actually the more serious of the two infections. When someone has meningococcal septicemia, the bacteria enter the bloodstream and multiply, damaging the walls of the blood vessels and causing bleeding into the skin and organs. This results in a spreading rash, and organ failure. It is not uncommon for survivors to have multiple complications, including loss of digits, kidney failure. And more.
What is HPV?
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). HPV is a different virus than HIV and HSV (herpes). HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives. A recent study states that almost HALF of all adults are infected with HPV! There are many different types of HPV. Some types can cause health problems including genital warts and cancers. But there are vaccines that can stop these health problems from happening.
How is HPV spread?
You can get HPV by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus. It is most commonly spread during vaginal or anal sex. HPV can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms.
Anyone who is sexually active can get HPV, even if you have had sex with only one person. You also can develop symptoms years after you have sex with someone who is infected making it hard to know when you first became infected.
Does HPV cause health problems?
In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems. But when HPV does not go away, it can cause health problems like genital warts and cancer.
Genital warts usually appear as a small bump or group of bumps in the genital area. They can be small or large, raised or flat, or shaped like a cauliflower. A healthcare provider can usually diagnose warts by looking at the genital area.
Does HPV cause cancer?
HPV can cause cervical and other cancers cancers including cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, or anus. It can also cause cancer in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils (called oropharyngeal cancer).
Cancer often takes years, even decades, to develop after a person gets HPV. The types of HPV that can cause genital warts are not the same as the types of HPV that can cause cancers.
There is no way to know which people who have HPV will develop cancer or other health problems. People with weak immune systems (including individuals with HIV/AIDS) may be less able to fight off HPV and more likely to develop health problems from it.
How can I avoid HPV and the health problems it can cause?
You can do several things to lower your chances of getting HPV.
Get vaccinated. The HPV vaccine is safe and effective. It can protect males and females against diseases (including cancers) caused by HPV when given in the recommended age groups (see “Who should get vaccinated?” below). CDC recommends 11 to 12 year olds get two doses of HPV vaccine to protect against cancers caused by HPV. For more information on the recommendations, please see: https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/questions-answers.html
Get screened for cervical cancer. Routine screening for women aged 21 to 65 years old can prevent cervical cancer.
If you are sexually active
- Use latex condoms the right way every time you have sex. This can lower your chances of getting HPV. But HPV can infect areas that are not covered by a condom - so condoms may not give full protection against getting HPV;
- Be in a mutually monogamous relationship – or have sex only with someone who only has sex with you.
Who should get vaccinated?
All boys and girls ages 11 or 12 years should get vaccinated.
Catch-up vaccines are recommended for males through age 21 and for females through age 26, if they did not get vaccinated when they were younger.
The vaccine is also recommended for gay and bisexual men (or any man who has sex with a man) through age 26. It is also recommended for men and women with compromised immune systems (including people living with HIV/AIDS) through age 26, if they did not get fully vaccinated when they were younger.
How do I know if I have HPV?
There is no test to find out a person’s “HPV status.” Also, there is no approved HPV test to find HPV in the mouth or throat.
There are HPV tests that can be used to screen for cervical cancer. These tests are recommended for screening only in women aged 30 years and older. They are not recommended to screen men, adolescents, or women under the age of 30 years.
Most people with HPV do not know they are infected and never develop symptoms or health problems from it. Some people find out they have HPV when they get genital warts. Women may find out they have HPV when they get an abnormal Pap test result (during cervical cancer screening). Others may only find out once they’ve developed more serious problems from HPV, such as cancers.
How common is HPV and the health problems caused by HPV?
HPV (the virus): About 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV. About 14 million people become newly infected each year. HPV is so common that most sexually-active men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives.
Health problems related to HPV include genital warts and cervical cancer.
Genital warts: Before HPV vaccines were introduced, roughly 340,000 to 360,000 women and men were affected by genital warts caused by HPV every year.* Also, about one in 100 sexually active adults in the U.S. have genital warts at any given time.
Cervical cancer: More than 11,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer each year.
There are other conditions and cancers caused by HPV that occur in persons living in the United States. Every year approximately 17,600 women and 9,300 men are affected by cancers caused by HPV.
*As these figures only look at the number of people who sought care for genital warts, this could be an underestimate of the actual number of people who get genital warts.
Can I be treated for HPV or health problems caused by HPV?
There is no treatment for the virus itself. However, there are treatments for the health problems that HPV can cause:
- Genital warts can be treated by your healthcare provider or with prescription medication. If left untreated, genital warts may go away, stay the same, or grow in size or number.
- Cervical precancer can be treated. Women who get routine Pap tests and follow up as needed can identify problems before cancer develops. Prevention is always better than treatment. For more information visit www.cancer.org.
- Other HPV-related cancers are also more treatable when diagnosed and treated early. For more information visit www.cancer.org.
There are so many rumors about the dangers of vaccines.
They are all based on false lies, and information. Here are some reasons that people say they don’t want vaccines:
"So many vaccines so soon will overwhelm my baby's immune system." Parents born in the 1970s and '80s were vaccinated against eight diseases. A fully vaccinated 2-year-old today, on the other hand, can beat back 14 diseases. So while kids now get more shots—especially since each vaccine usually requires multiple doses—they're also protected against almost twice as many diseases.
But it's not the number of shots that matters; it's what's in them. Antigens are the viral or bacterial components of a vaccine that induce the immune system to build up antibodies and fight future infections. The total antigens children receive in vaccines today are a fraction of what kids used to receive, even including combination vaccines.
"My child's immune system is immature, so it's safer to delay some vaccines or just get the most important ones." This is the biggest misunderstanding among parents today, and it leads to prolonged periods of susceptibility to diseases like measles. In the case of MMR, delaying the vaccine by even three months slightly increases the risk of febrile seizures.
There's no proof that spacing out vaccines is safer. What is known is that the recommended vaccine schedule is designed to provide the greatest possible protection. In fact, dozens of infectious-disease experts and epidemiologists from the CDC, universities, and hospitals across the U.S. closely examine decades of research before making their recommendations.
"Vaccines contain toxins, such as mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, and antifreeze." Vaccines are mostly water with antigens, but they require additional ingredients to stabilize the solution or increase the vaccine's effectiveness. Parents worry about mercury because some vaccines used to contain the preservative thimerosal, which breaks down into ethylmercury. Researchers now know that ethylmercury doesn't accumulate in the body—unlike methylmercury, the neurotoxin found in some fish. But thimerosal has been removed from all infant vaccines since 2001 "as a precaution”.
Vaccines do contain aluminum salts; these are used to enhance the body's immune response, stimulating greater antibody production and making the vaccine more effective. Although aluminum can cause greater redness or swelling at the injection site, the tiny amount of aluminum in vaccines—less than what kids get through breast milk, formula, or other sources—has no long-term effect and has been used in some vaccines since the 1930s. "It's in our soil, in our water, in the air. You'd have to leave the planet to avoid exposure," says pediatrician and Parents advisor Ari Brown, M.D., of Austin, Texas.
Trace amounts of formaldehyde, used to inactivate potential contamination, may also be in some vaccines, but hundreds of times less than the amount of formaldehyde humans get from other sources, such as fruit and insulation material. Our body even naturally produces more formaldehyde than what is in vaccines.
Certain ingredients, however, do pose some risks. Antibiotics, such as neomycin, used to prevent bacterial growth in some vaccines, and gelatin, frequently used to prevent vaccine components from degrading over time, can cause extremely rare anaphylactic reactions (roughly once or twice per 1 million doses). Some vaccines may contain trace amounts of egg protein, but recent studies have shown that kids with egg allergies can often still receive them.
As for antifreeze, it is simply not in vaccines. Parents may be confusing its chemical names—both ethylene glycol and propylene glycol—with the ingredients used in the vaccine-manufacturing process (such as polyethylene glycol tert-octylphenyl ether, which is not harmful).
These are just some of the arguments against vaccinating. Now why we vaccinate:
Immunizations can save your child’s life. Because of advances in medical science, your child can be protected against more diseases than ever before. Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children, have been eliminated completely and others are close to extinction– primarily due to safe and effective vaccines. Polio is one example of the great impact that vaccines had have in the United States. Polio was once America’s most-feared disease, causing death and paralysis across the country, but today, thanks to vaccination, there are no reports of polio in the United States.
Vaccination is very safe and effective. Vaccines are only given to children after a long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals. Vaccines will involve some discomfort and may cause pain, redness, or tenderness at the site of injection but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and trauma of the diseases these vaccines prevent. Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccines are much greater than the possible side effects for almost all children.
Immunization protects others you care about. Children in the U.S. still get vaccine-preventable diseases. In fact, we have seen resurgences of measles and whooping cough (pertussis) over the past few years. Since 2010, there have been between 10,000 and 50,000 cases of whooping cough each year in the United States and about 10 to 20 babies, many of which were too young to be fully vaccinated, died each year. While some babies are too young to be protected by vaccination, others may not be able to receive certain vaccinations due to severe allergies, weakened immune systems from conditions like leukemia, or other reasons. To help keep them safe, it is important that you and your children who are able to get vaccinated are fully immunized. This not only protects your family but also helps prevent the spread of these diseases to your friends and loved ones.
Immunizations can save your family time and money. A child with a vaccine-preventable disease can be denied attendance at schools or child care facilities. Some vaccine-preventable diseases can result in prolonged disabilities and can take a financial toll because of lost time at work, medical bills or long-term disability care. In contrast, getting vaccinated against these diseases is a good investment and usually covered by insurance. The Vaccines for Children program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children from low-income families.
Immunization protects future generations. Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago. For example, smallpox vaccination eradicated that disease worldwide. Your children don’t have to get smallpox shots anymore because the disease no longer exists. By vaccinating children against rubella (German measles), the risk that pregnant women will pass this virus on to their fetus or newborn has been dramatically decreased, and birth defects associated with that virus no longer are seen in the United States. If we continue vaccinating now and vaccinating completely, parents in the future may be able to trust that some diseases of today will no longer be around to harm their children in the future.
Some additional Proof:
Review The American Academy of Pediatric's document listing 21 studies that disprove the autism-MMR link as well as disproving many other myths of vaccines. Click here for that document.
Vaccines and Natural Immunity:
A new study refutes a popular claim by opponents of vaccination that vaccines weaken a child’s natural immunity.
The report, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), outlines a case-control study performed on children aged 2 to 4 years with 193 cases with non–vaccine-targeted infections and 751 controls with non–vaccine-targeted infections. Researchers found no statistically significant difference in the level of immunity against non–vaccine-targeted infections between the 2 groups.
Vaccine Information Sheets:
If you would like to access the CDC's Vaccine Information Sheets, click here
In general, we follow the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC as to the vaccine schedule. We modify it slightly depending on vaccine availability. Following is our general Schedule:
Birth to 15-month Schedule
18 Month to 18 Years
|2 Dose Series
|3 Dose Series
|2 Dose Series
 Teens under 15 years can now get a 2 dose series. After this it is a 3 dose series
|6 mo to 3 yrs
|> 3 Years
|First Time Vaccinated
|Single yearly dose
|Second Time Vaccinated