Let’s face it: Getting immunizations can be a real pain in the… um… arm. It’s difficult to parents to remain calm when that needle is headed for their child. Even pediatricians know this; that’s why they tend to leave the room when immunizations are about to be administered; so their patients won’t develop a fear of doctors.
But compare that moment of “needle fear” to the real terror of childhood diseases. Polio. Diptheria. Varicella. Measles. Serious diseases that carry the real possibility of long-term damage.
Thankfully, many of the diseases that used to inspire such terror in parents are now rare, greatly reduced in prevalence by public health programs that require immunizations. And yet, many parents today seem to want to rely on luck to avoid these childhood diseases, avoiding immunizations for their children because of cultural issues, or language barriers, or disproven rumors about vaccine safety, or a simple lack of understanding about the benefits of immunization.
The truth? First, immunizations have been proved reliable and effective numerous times in the last 50 years. It is always better to prevent a disease than to treat it after its arrival, this according to the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
Second, while immunizations have made occurrences of many terrifying childhood diseases few and far between, the viruses and bacteria that cause those diseases are still out there and can strike at any time. Immunizations greatly decrease the likelihood of a child ever getting those diseases.
Finally, immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases not only protects the child being immunized, but also the children and community around them. According to a July report on ABC News, health officials attribute the current epidemic of whooping cough in California almost entirely to parents either being lax in getting children their immunizations or simply refusing to do so. And while California law recognizes a parent’s right to refuse, the science doesn’t lie; according to the Centers for Disease Control, children not immunized against whooping cough face a twentyfold increase in the risk of getting the disease.
Concerned about immunization coverage? Under the FUSD/JHMB’s employee health plans, immunizations under the both the Annual Physical Exam Benefit and under Well Baby Care (up to age 5) are covered at 100 percent when administered by a network provider. More information about whooping cough is available on the HealthConnect website at www.jhmbhealthconnect.com/whoopingcough.