We all want to do what’s best for our kids, but sometimes I think we get sidetracked by all the scary stuff out there. I’m careful to tread lightly on certain subjects, but you guys, we need to talk about immunization.
We need to be immunizing our kids. Vaccines are helpful, not harmful.
Vaccines help protect our kids against several communicable diseases, many of which are life-threatening to our little people. Babies under two are especially at risk of many serious childhood illnesses that are completely preventable through immunization, so why are people not immunizing their kids? Because of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of Big Pharma, fear of the “studies,” and memes that are circulated telling them vaccinations are full of poisons and toxins. But listen: kids don’t have to die from these illnesses.
We’d done away with some serious, life-threatening illnesses until people started thinking vaccines were bad. Now kids are suffering through very preventable illnesses and yes, sometimes they die from them.
Even delaying important vaccinations means serious cases of diseases are spread. It means our most vulnerable kids, including those who are too young to be vaccinated and those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, are unsafe.
We followed the schedule of vaccinations at Ontario.ca/vaccines because I firmly believe in the science. Having had a child born with life-threatening allergies reinforced in us the need to protect his vulnerable system as best we could. Following the schedule means that children are protected at the earliest time possible for vaccine preventable diseases. And I believe in protecting kids who cannot get vaccinated. Just like I believe in keeping my kids home from school when they’re contagious so they don’t spread their germs.
Our son has asthma and is at serious risk of contracting lung disease and I want him protected effectively, which means we all have to get the vaccines for them to work. My mother has weakened lungs and gets pneumonia and other lung infections easily, which can be deadly for seniors, so it’s important we work to protect her (and others like her), too. With measles outbreaks on the rise and increasing hesitancy to vaccinate, I have to wonder why we’re turning our backs on the solid science of saving lives. In order for herd immunity to work, the herd needs to get on board.
In order to attend public school in Ontario, kids must be vaccinated for the following (unless there is a valid exemption):
- meningococcal disease
- whooping cough (pertussis)
- chickenpox (varicella — required for those born in or after 2010)
In addition to all the vaccines recommended in infancy and early childhood, at 4 and 6 years old, children should receive the following vaccines:
- tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox
In grade 7, children should receive the following vaccines:
- meningococcal conjugate (Men-C-ACYW), hepatitis b, human papillomavirus (HPV)
Between 14 and 16 years old, teens should receive the following vaccine:
- tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis
I encourage everyone to look past the memes and fear-mongering, and really learn about the studies that are done into the safety and efficacy of vaccines. The safety of all our kids matters greatly to me, and I bet it matters to you, too.
This post was developed in association with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The opinions are my own.