Childhood immunizations are very important, in my opinion, as they may help to prevent the spread of infectious diseases as well as save the lives of children. Throughout the years, we have seen a vast improvement or increase in vaccines and while some may argue the necessity of some of these immunizations, the truth of the matter is that vaccines have helped to control the spread of diseases/illnesses that were at one point, common in our country (i.e. chicken pox, measles, mumps, etc.).
As parents, we do all we can to protect our babies and children in any and every way we can. I remember when my children were younger I did everything within my power to make sure they stayed safe and I still do— some may say I’m a bit overprotective, but that’s a different story for a different blog. At any rate, I plugged the outlets with those little plastic safety plugs, latched low cabinets, blocked off certain areas of the house with the little baby fences and when they became of age to where they were able to sleep in the toddler beds, I made sure they had the side rails to prevent them from rolling out of the bed and onto the floor (and mind you, these were toddler beds…. they were already low to the floor). Till this day, they are not allowed to ride in the front seat of the car and they must wear their seat belts (for those old enough to ride without a car seat) or they must be in their car seats. Oh and they must also wear helmets and knee pads when riding bicycles or skating on skate boards…..the list could go on and on. Nothing so far out of the ordinary, right? Well I say all this to say that immunizations are just as important as all these seemingly “little” efforts that we make to protect our infants and children.
As I studied childhood immunizations, I researched other countries to see if they too, considered the matter to be of great significance. I am glad to report that while there are obviously some countries that may not have adequate medical supplies or medicines, most of them actually believe that childhood immunizations are important. I looked into one of our neighbors, Canada, and I discovered that they also consider childhood immunizations to be very important. The children in Canada are on a vaccine schedule just as infants and children in the United States. Parents may obviously visit their child’s pediatrician for vaccines, or they may visit a local public health authority to get the proper vaccines for their children. Just as some vaccines are not funded through local public health authorities in the U.S., so it is in Canada; however parents still have the option to get their child vaccinated, they just have to pay out of pocket if they have no insurance to cover it. Parents in Canada receive shot records to help them keep track of their child’s vaccine history, just as parents in the U.S. Canada even advises parents to plan ahead when traveling to ensure that if they are traveling to another country their children have the proper vaccines to protect them from diseases that may be a threat outside of Canada, the same as the U.S. (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/med/immuniz-eng.php).
As a mom and a future professional in the early childhood field, I think learning about vaccines and staying up to date with information on vaccines can help to keep other parents informed and educated, as well as help in controlling the potential spread of diseases and illnesses to other children. I guess you can say, it’s kind of like a duty, or….. a reasonable service!