Vaccinating Your Child
Keeping your child healthy and safe is your main goal as a parent. One of the most important steps you can take to ensure this safety is to vaccinate your child. Mark Langfitt, MD, with University of Maryland Shore Medical Group – Pediatrics at Easton, is aware of the concerns parents have due to the misinformation surrounding vaccines.
Dr. Langfitt counters those fears with science and experience. “If you read the scholarly articles and research, there should be no doubt about the safety and effectiveness of immunizations.” Vaccines and their safety have been reviewed carefully by scientists, doctors and health care professionals. “Ironically, part of the anti-vaccine movement is due to the success of our past. New parents haven’t seen the diseases vaccines prevent," he says.
Over the years, diseases such as measles and polio had been nearly eliminated in our country. However, in the past few years there's been an increase in vaccine-preventable diseases, particularly measles and whooping cough (pertussis).
Dr. Langfitt knows directly of the benefits of vaccines. "My parents grew up and started having children during the polio epidemics of the early 20th century,” he says. “I heard stories of iron lungs and members of my father’s church who died or were paralyzed from polio. I remember going to the local middle school one Saturday, where all the children in town were given shots to prevent smallpox, and later, sugar cubes to prevent polio. And it worked. Smallpox is eradicated and no one has been infected with natural polio in America for over 20 years."
Protecting the Future
We may question the need for vaccines since we don't see cases of polio or whooping cough. “Most pediatricians haven’t seen a case of measles, polio epidemics mostly happen thousands of miles away, and even chicken pox is fading from memory," Dr. Langfitt adds. "But these diseases and all the other ones we can prevent with vaccines will recur if enough people stop immunizing their children."
Not vaccinating can cause long-term concerns in other areas. They also are cost-effective, preventing increased bills from chronic health conditions due to not being vaccinated. Children who are not vaccinated can be denied attendance at schools or child care facilities because most of these places require proof of vaccination from the child’s pediatrician.
To help keep your family safe, it is important that you and your children get fully immunized.