With a return to school and new variants of the COVID-19 virus dominating the media headlines, many parents have more questions than answers when it comes to immunizing their children.
Which vaccines should my child have? Is it necessary to continue vaccinating minors against COVID-19? What are the risks of vaccines?
Laura Stallings, a health expert at Valleywise Health, told La Voz Arizona that it is important to protect the individual well-being of children in the home and the adults around them by making sure they get all the necessary vaccinations.
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“Vaccines are known to help prevent preventable diseases and to help eradicate or control many diseases that once threatened the health and lives of children,” Stallings said. “Moreover, vaccines not only protect those who are vaccinated, but also Helps protect children who are otherwise unable to receive certain vaccines.”
Below, Stallings answers a series of questions related to childhood immunizations and how they can help reduce the risk of disease outbreaks in schools.
Stallings recommends visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for resources and more information.
Are vaccines safe?
LS: I know parents are very concerned about what they read about immunizations on the internet. I always ask people do you have polio? They answered me no. Well, you don’t have polio because you’ve been vaccinated against polio.
Vaccines always go through a very rigorous approval process, and getting approval is not easy.
I recommend people check the sources of the information provided. They verify on official websites such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and do not trust information that appears on social networks. Who says vaccines are not safe, or who says vaccines are safe? It is very important to keep this in mind at all times.
What are the important immunizations that children need when they go back to school?
LS: Vaccinations have always been mandatory, this is nothing new. Children have always been required to get the vaccine called MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella)…and have always been required to do so. Now, if there are exceptions for some kids, that’s why they’re not vaccinated. This may be for religious or health reasons.
Some children are exempt from this obligation by not wearing it for religious or health reasons, so it is important that all other children wear it to protect those children. We call it herd immunity, which means that the more people who get vaccinated, the fewer people will get sick when the time comes.
Is it necessary to continue to vaccinate children against COVID-19?
LS: There is still a COVID-19 vaccine. Just as people get a flu shot every year, the same will happen with COVID-19 until the government decides the virus is no longer circulating and then stop giving it, but I highly doubt it. Most likely, COVID-19 is here to stay with us, so getting a COVID-19 vaccine is always good.
What are the risks of vaccines?
LS: All medicines have side effects. Now, the severity of side effects is what we want to focus on. 97% of vaccines cause only a little soreness in the area and sometimes a little fever. In very specific cases, vaccines can also have other types of side effects.
What is a combination vaccine? Why use them?
LS: Combination vaccines are mainly used in smaller patients so that they don’t have to be punctured multiple times. We have the DTAP vaccine for Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis, and the MMR for Measles, Rubella and Mumps and other combined Hepatitis B and C vaccines.
My son is sick now. Can I get an injection?
LS: There are two things that have to be considered before getting the vaccine, one is that the person does not have a fever, and I mean a fever over 101.4 degrees Fahrenheit. The second is to verify that the person is not allergic to the content of the vaccine.
My child has symptoms of illness, should I send him to school?
LS: Some schools have advised that children should not be taken to school if they have a fever. He must be fever-free and off medication for at least 24 hours before returning to school, by which time the illness is no longer considered contagious.
Is there a link between vaccines and the autism spectrum?
LS: The Centers for Disease Control has a lot of information about it, all of which have been scientifically proven wrong. There is no relationship between what a vaccine is and what autism is.
Where can people get vaccine resources?
LS: Children can be vaccinated through VFC (Vaccines for Children). It’s a federal program that provides vaccines to different health departments in each state.
You can get immunizations from any pediatrician, we at Valleywide Health have pediatricians, you just need to make an appointment. We remind you that if you do not have health insurance, you will pay nothing for your child’s vaccines under the VFC plan.
Contact journalist Javier Arce via emailJavier.email@example.com or via twitter@JavierArce33