Infant Immunization Week is a good time to reflect on the value of immunizations
Check to make sure your baby is up to date on vaccinations
Babies born in the United States are more likely to be vaccinated against an array of preventable diseases than babies born in other parts of the world. And yet, even in America, some babies are going unprotected, and that poses a health risk - not only to them, but to the population at large.
Immunizations have eradicated, or nearly eradicated, diseases like smallpox and polio. But in areas where vaccinations drop below a certain threshold, diseases that could have been eliminated still can cause illness and death.
So far in 2018, for example, 13 people have been reported with measles, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Last year, 118 people were reported with measles. Measles doesn’t threaten most of us because we receive vaccinations against the disease.
An investigation of a 2017 measles outbreak among very young children in Minnesota found that most of the sufferers were unvaccinated. “The low vaccination rate resulted in a community highly susceptible to measles,” the CDC concluded.
Infant Immunization Week is a good time to reflect on the value of immunizations and check to make sure your baby is up to date on vaccinations. Providence can help you record your children’s vaccinations and see what’s due next with the vaccine tracker on the Circle by Providence app.
The global picture
Worldwide, one in 10 children had no vaccinations in 2016, according to a survey by the World Health Organization (WHO). And even in cases in which children were vaccinated, millions did not receive the full, multidose immunization treatment.
WHO officials said many of the children live in places with very limited health care systems.
"If we are to raise the bar on global immunization coverage, health services must reach the unreached,” said Dr. Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele, the agency’s director of immunization, vaccines and biologicals. “Every contact with the health system must be seen as an opportunity to immunize."
While access to health care creates barriers to immunization in the developing world, other concerns may interfere with vaccinations in countries like the United States. Some have suggested, for example, that vaccines can cause autism in children. But this is not true. As the CDC puts it, emphatically, there is no link between vaccines and autism.
Immunizations are also safe and effective when given to babies who are born pre-term, or are underweight, notes the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The Circle App
New moms find themselves navigating a world full of warnings and dangers to their little ones. It can be overwhelming to keep up with - and minimize - all the daily hazards, from infant diets to sleep positions.
To help moms keep track of their children’s scheduled and completed vaccinations and get answers to other pregnancy and parenting questions, Providence has developed a free, easily downloadable app that includes a vaccine tracker feature. It follows the CDC-recommended guidelines for immunizations for diseases from hepatitis to flu.
Check out our infographic about why Providence supports child vaccinations. If you have questions or concerns about vaccinating your child, discuss it with your health care provider. You can find a Providence St. Joseph Health provider convenient located near you by looking in our online directory.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.