Despite the absence of diseases like polio, diphtheria, and tetanus in entire communities, some parents remain unconvinced about the importance of immunizations. Yes, it’s true that a few children do not respond to one vaccine or another—no vaccine has a record of 100% effectiveness. But depending on the study being cited, childhood vaccines are 85% to 98% effective. That’s a remarkable track record, particularly when you take into account the serious nature of many of these infections.
When you have an opportunity to give your child up to a 98% chance of avoiding a disease like chickenpox that can lead to dehydration or pneumonia or a serious illness like whooping cough that can cause seizures, brain disease, and death, that’s a convincing reason to vaccinate.
Nevertheless, despite the easy availability and the proven effectiveness of vaccines, some children are still not properly immunized. A few parents are unaware that the initial shots need to be given in the early days and weeks of infancy. Other parents have made a conscious decision to avoid having their child vaccinated, believing one myth or another about the safety of immunizations.
But when children are not immunized, the results can be devastating. Each year, thousands of children in the United States become seriously ill with diseases that could have been prevented with proper immunizations. Immunizations are among the most effective medical interventions of all time. Short of basic sanitation and nutrition, no medical intervention has done more to save lives and prevent disease than immunizations.
Immunizations are the cornerstone of preventive health, and the American Academy of Pediatrics believes strongly that every child needs and deserves the protection that immunizations provide.