All About Immunizations
Even though schools will not return as usual for the first day of school, keeping your child up-to-date on their vaccinations should still be a top priority. Vaccines help your child’s body practice fighting diseases by creating antibodies that recognize parts of germs. Staying on top of your child’s vaccination schedule ensures their body’s ability to protect itself from long-term preventable diseases. Especially during a global pandemic, protecting ourselves and our families from exposure to preventable diseases is critically important.
What a vaccine does
Vaccines contain the same germs that cause a disease, but they have been killed or weakened to the point that they do not make you sick. Those germs stimulate your child’s immune system to produce antibodies, the same way they would if your child were exposed to the disease. After being vaccinated, your child develops immunity to that disease without ever having contracted it.
Why we need vaccines
Vaccinations protect children from dangerous childhood diseases, such as diphtheria, influenza, hepatitis A and B, measles, mumps, polio, tetanus, chickenpox, whooping cough, and more. Since vaccinations have been widely used in the United States, cases of diseases that were once common like measles and diphtheria have dropped dramatically. However, unvaccinated children can still contract these diseases. The last measles outbreak in Oregon happened as recently as 2019, and none of the patients who contracted it had been immunized against the disease. Immunizations have protected millions of kids from contracting dangerous childhood diseases and saved thousands of lives.
What is herd immunity?
Diseases spread faster in communities that have a higher percentage of unvaccinated people. When a large portion of a community becomes immune to a disease through vaccinations, the spread of the disease from person to person becomes much less likely. The more people who are vaccinated, the less it will be able to spread. As a result, the whole community becomes protected — not just those who are immune.
Where can my child get vaccinated?
Your pediatrician is the best option for maintaining the appropriate immunization schedule during regular checkups. If you don’t have a pediatrician, visit Umpqua Health Newton Creek Clinic at www.umpquahealthclinc.com to schedule an appointment or call 541-229-7038.