The Importance of Childhood Immunizations

Essay by thegeneral3024College, UndergraduateB+, March 2008

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Parents are asking a question when they take their offspring to their pediatrician. Do we have to vaccinate our children? Many parents question the importance or even the need for their children to receive vaccinations. The reasons for their objections or doubts vary from religious beliefs, a lack of understanding exactly what immunizations really are, or fear that their children may acquire a serious reaction to the vaccines themselves. Immunizations are safe and effective, yet many still question their importance and place in society.

The purpose behind vaccinations is to create an environment where children are safe and free from disease. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2007), "Vaccines interact with the immune system and often produce an immune response similar to that produced by the natural infection. They do not subject the child receiving the vaccine to the disease itself or its potential complications." After all, who would intentionally want to put a child at risk?Immunization programs are among the most noteworthy public health achievement stories.

Major disease outbreaks are virtually unheard of in the United States because aggressive vaccinations throughout the years have suppressed or eliminated many of the potentially deadly diseases that our children could possibly contract. Currently, diseases that are preventable by immunizations are at or near record lows.

The CDC (2007) states, "Public health department's recommendations for immunization plans and practices represent a recognizable balancing of risks and benefits." Such was the case with smallpox and oral polio vaccines in the United States. Through safe vaccine monitoring to evaluate precisely the stability and regulate immunization guidelines, these two diseases neared global eradication. Polio once created widespread panic. Defined by the CDC (2007), "Polio (the disease) is the effect of poliomyelitis virus on the spinal cord that leads to the classic...