From babies to toddlers, tweens to teens—and every kiddo in between—children need vaccines to help them grow up healthy and safe. Their childhood immunizations provide crucial protection from diseases that can harm them.
For a variety of reasons, though, some parents want to skip or delay vaccines for their kids. But this does not make kids safer or better protected. For full protection, kids need to be vaccinated according to the immunization schedule published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In fact, even in times of pandemics or other global health crises (when people may put off routine health care), timely vaccines are still important. That's because—no matter the reason—delaying immunizations leaves children vulnerable.
Even diseases like chickenpox can become serious and, in some cases, fatal. And diseases we've already beaten can stage a comeback when kids go unvaccinated. For example, take measles, a highly contagious and sometimes severe disease. In 2014, a measles outbreak spread to 27 states. In 2019, the U.S. had more than 1,000 measles cases.
Fortunately, safe and effective vaccines are available. They provide protection by boosting your child's natural immunity to diseases.
There's another reason to make sure your kids are vaccinated on time: Some schools may require their students to be immunized before they can attend classes.
Follow the recommended schedule
The best way to protect your child is to follow CDC's recommended vaccine schedule. It lists immunizations that children of various ages need, including:
- Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).
- Chickenpox (varicella).
- Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap).
- Pneumococcal (pneumonia).
- Hepatitis A and B.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV).
If you have questions or concerns about vaccines, you can always talk to your child's primary care provider. They can help you determine which shots your child needs and when.
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