As the summer holiday season draws to a close, many parents are getting ready for their kids to either start or resume back at school. It’s been fun to have them home for the summer, but the resumption of their normal routine is probably welcome by most!
School is a great opportunity for kids to mingle with, learn from and enjoy the company of others their age. This is also the reason why immunizations are so important. Starting or returning to school puts a child in an environment whereby they can and will come into contact with different bacteria and viruses. For a healthy child, if their immune system is up to the task, they may get the occasional sniffles for a short period of time, but their bodies are usually able to fight off mild infections. However, there is no way to predict what can happen if an un-vaccinated child contracts a major communicable disease and is then exposed to a school environment.
Top 10 things to know about Immunization
- Immunization saves lives: The World Health Organization estimates that Immunization currently prevents between 2–3 million deaths around the world every year. In fact, immunization is considered one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. Immunization prevents deaths every year in all age groups from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), and measles. It is one of the most successful and cost-effective public health interventions.
- Vaccines are safe: Ensuring the safety and quality of vaccines is one of WHO’s highest priorities. Vaccines are thoroughly tested before licensing and carefully monitored after they are licensed to ensure that they are safe.
- Immunization protects your child: Immunization protects children from serious illness and complications of vaccine-preventable diseases which can include amputation of an arm or leg, paralysis of limbs, hearing loss, convulsions, brain damage, and death.
- Lack of immunization is dangerous: If children aren’t vaccinated, they can spread diseases to other children who are too young to be vaccinated or to people with weakened immune systems, such as transplant recipients and people with cancer. This could result in long-term complications and even death for these vulnerable people.
- Immunization is the norm: Most parents choose the safe, proven protection of vaccines and are vaccinating their children according to the CDC-recommended immunization schedule. For more Information see [Immunization Schedule]
- Young children are more vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases: Children under the age of five are most at risk for vaccine-preventable diseases and their complications.
- Outbreaks of preventable diseases occur when many parents decide not to vaccinate their children: Child care facilities, preschool programs, and schools are prone to outbreaks of infectious diseases. Children in these settings can easily spread illnesses to one another due to poor hand washing, not covering their coughs and other factors such as interacting in crowded environments. Make sure you are sending your child to school safe by properly immunizing him/her.
- Vaccines serve as a frontline defense against antimicrobial resistance: Vaccines can help limit the spread of antibiotic resistance. The global increase in disease caused by drug-resistant bacteria, due to overuse and misuse of antibiotics, is a major public health concern. Getting vaccinated is a very effective way to prevent you from getting infected and thereby preventing the need for antibiotics.
- Immunization saves money: Immunization is a very cost-effective way of securing your child’s future by preventing him/her from contacting any vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, mumps, and whooping cough.
- Immunization is widely recommended: The international community has endorsed the value of vaccines and immunization to prevent and control a large number of infectious diseases and, increasingly, several chronic diseases that are caused by infectious agents.