By Kim Schiavi

Central Michigan District Health Department Health Promotion

OSCEOLA COUNTY — National Infant Immunization Week is a time to remind parents and caregivers to immunize their children in order to protect not only their health, but the health of the entire community.

Parents, healthcare providers, schools and community members all play a role in the promotion of immunizations. Immunizations are one of the best ways to protect children against serious diseases.

Parents are encouraged to talk with their child’s doctor to ensure that they are up-to-date on immunizations. By being immunized, we can help stop the spread of disease to others with a weakened immune system or who may not be completely immunized, such as the elderly.

By the time a child reaches his/her second birthday, they should receive the following immunizations to help protect them against multiple diseases:

  • two doses of Hepatitis A
  • three doses of Hepatitis B
  • three doses of Rotavirus
  • four doses of DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis)
  • four doses of Hib (H. Influenza, type b)
  • three doses of Polio
  • one dose of MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)
  • one dose of Varicella (Chickenpox vaccine)
  • four doses of Pneumococcal
  • Seasonal Flu (number of doses vary with age — check with your doctor)

A priority for parents is to keep their child safe from harm and immunizations are one of the best ways to protect your infant from serious diseases. Immunizations can save the lives of children.

Parents are often concerned about potential side effects of vaccinations; however, children are more likely to be harmed by vaccine preventable diseases than by receiving immunizations. When children receive their immunizations, side effects, if any, are usually mild and can include tiredness, low-grade fever and tenderness at the site where the immunization was given in the arm or leg.

If children do not receive their immunizations and are diagnosed with these diseases, they could experience the following: fever, chills, breathing problems, heart problems, pneumonia, infections, brain damage, nausea, rashes, hospitalization and even death.

More information on infant/child immunizations can be found at cdc.gov/vaccines (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and immunize.org (Immunization Action Coalition).

During this awareness week, we are asking parents and caregivers to call your doctor or local Central Michigan District Health Department branch office and make an appointment for your child to get immunized. It is also important for parents and caregivers to be immunized, especially for diseases such as pertussis (whooping cough), chickenpox and measles. Remember to check with your healthcare provider regarding which immunizations you should receive.