According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), vaccination is the number one way to protect children from serious, preventable diseases—like the measles. Vaccinating your baby according to the recommended immunization schedule gives him/her the best protection against 14 serious childhood illnesses—including measles and whooping cough—before he/she is two years old.
“Immunizing against these diseases can protect your child’s health, and save the lives of children around them—especially infants who are too young to be vaccinated and those who are immunocompromised,” says Cheryl Clarkin, MD, Chief of Inpatient Pediatric Services, Nemours duPont Pediatrics at Bryn Mawr Hospital, part of Main Line Health. “Childhood vaccines are safe, and the measles vaccine is one of the most effective vaccinations we have.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), measles spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is so contagious that if one person has it, 90 percent of the people around him or her will also become infected if they are not protected through immunization. The United States experienced a record number of measles cases during 2014, with 644 cases from 27 states reported to CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). This is the greatest number of cases since measles elimination was documented in the U.S. in 2000. From January 1 to January 30, 2015, an additional 102 people from 14 states were reported to have measles. Most of the people infected had not received the proper vaccinations.
“Vaccines work best when most members of a community are vaccinated—the more people who are vaccinated, the lower the possible risk of anyone's exposure to vaccine-preventable diseases,” remarked Dr. Clarkin. “Vaccines are created with the highest safety standards so that they can be administered to as many people as possible—especially to children. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccines far outweigh any possible side effects.”
The latest formulation of the measles vaccine protects against measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox, so children are protected against four illnesses all at once. “If you are the parent of a young child and are having reservations about immunizing your child, it’s important for you to speak with your child’s health care provider,” Clarkin adds.
Nemours (NAH-mors) is an internationally recognized children’s health system that owns and operates the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware and the Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida along with major pediatric specialty clinics in Delaware, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Established as The Nemours Foundation through the legacy and philanthropy of Alfred I. du Pont, Nemours offers pediatric clinical care, research, education, advocacy and prevention programs to all families in the communities it serves. For more information, visit Nemours.org.
Chris Manning, Senior Manager, Public and Media Relations, Nemours