Childhood Immunization Resource
Immunizations are an important block in the foundation of a healthy life for children. The diseases that vaccines prevent can be dangerous, even deadly. Vaccines reduce the risk of infection by working with the body’s natural defenses to help it safely develop immunity to disease. Before your children start school or return to school, current immunizations are required.
Seeking for Immunity
Our immune systems are designed to protect us from anything harmful that may enter our body. When a germ (virus or bacteria) enters our body, the immune system recognizes it as an invader and produces proteins called antibodies to kill it.
Antibodies find and destroy the specific germs that cause us to get sick. So antibodies to the measles virus will only attack the measles virus and nothing else. The good news is that the immune system “remembers” the germs. This way if it shows up again, the antibodies quickly destroy it before you get sick again. This is the way that our bodies build immunity to disease. We all want immunity so we don’t get the disease again!
It is very important to build immunity to dangerous diseases with a vaccine before a child is exposed to the disease. This is why we want to get our immunizations done on time (see Immunization Schedules below).
How Vaccines Work
A vaccine contains a part of a weak or dead germ called an antigen. These antigens stimulate your immune system to produce the antibodies that kill the germ and thus build your immunity to the disease. This has the same effect as if you were exposed to the disease. After the vaccination is complete, you develop the immunity to that disease without having to get the disease first! This is why immunizations are so important: because they actually prevent the disease.
As a parent, it can be stressful to bring your baby in for immunizations. However, these shots protect against 14 horrible diseases. Some new parents wonder if vaccines are safe. Of course there will likely be side effects like a fever and soreness but they are typically very mild.
While it is good to be cautious, it is important to realize that every day, a baby’s immune system fights off millions of antigens so the introduction of a vaccine isn’t new. It is also comforting to know that the safety of all vaccines is studied and monitored by the Center for Disease Control and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration but if you have questions, please contact my office.
The following links to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention are a great resource for parents:
Idaho Immunization Program (IIP)
Dr. Ward is a registered member of the Idaho Immunization Program (IIP) which is a vaccination coverage program sponsored by the State of Idaho. The program provides free pediatric vaccines to participating immunization providers.
As a member of this program, we not only provide free pediatric vaccines but also have access to the Idaho Immunization Reminder Information System (IRIS) which tracks immunizations in children and adults. With this access, we can determine needed vaccinations based on recommended timelines.
Dr. Ward wants all of his patients to be up-to-date on their immunizations, including the HPV vaccination. Prevention is the best cure!
Babies and children need to get several vaccines before their second birthday. As children get older, they will require additional doses of some vaccines for best protection. Older children also need to be protected against additional diseases they may encounter.
The following links provide detailed information regarding immunization schedules provided by the Center for Disease Control:
- CDC Vaccine Overview
- CDC Childhood Vaccine Chart (birth – 6yrs)
- CDC Pre-Teen & Teen Vaccine Chart (7yrs – 18yrs)
Day Care and School Immunizations
The State of Idaho has a website with a wealth of information regarding state requirements for children entering school or childcare. The following links outline these requirements:
- Idaho’s Immunization Requirements to Enter School
- Idaho’s Immunization Requirements to Attend Licensed Childcare Facilities
One last little note, if you are planning on traveling internationally with your children, it is important to know that some countries have outbreaks of diseases that can ruin a fun-filled trip. Some diseases are easy to pick up on an airplane or in certain areas of the world. The following link to a Travelers’ Health web site where you can find out if your destination recommends or requires certain vaccines before you travel. Recommended Travel Vaccines