By Lauren Wanko
One-year old Paige Werner is visiting her pediatrician for a wellness check-up. Today she’s due for vaccines against hepatitis A and chickenpox.
“I just wanted to make sure that Paige and my son where both protected, especially since they’re in day care and even if they weren’t in day care, we have lots of other friends with babies,” said mother Colleen Werner.
“All the diseases that we vaccinate against are still present and if we stop vaccinating children, these diseases will become more evident,” said Dr. Robert Murphy, pediatrician.
Murphy doesn’t allow children to be patients if their parents refuse to have them vaccinated.
“We know that if a child is unvaccinated and comes into our office with a disease, which is highly communicable, it puts many of our children at risk,” he said.
“Childhood vaccines protect against 14 diseases by the age of two. Vaccines are life saving and they protect individuals against diseases that cause serious illness,” said Dr. Arturo Brito.
There are several required vaccines for children enrolling in and attending childcare or preschool.
And there are also required vaccines for those in grades kindergarten through 12.
The vaccines are light and temperature sensitive, they’re kept in a refrigerator. Some are put in the freezer. When a patient receives a vaccine at the office, a nurse records the company that manufactured it, its batch number and where the vaccine was administered on the patient, in the event of an adverse reaction.
Patients are provided informational sheets on each vaccine they receive and a shot record, stamped by the doctor’s office, for the school nurse. Dr. Murphy, affiliated with K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital, insists schools can be breeding grounds for germs.
“Children in a contained environment in the winter months who are very vulnerable can transmit a lot of diseases,” Murphy said.
Vaccines don’t end after adolescence.
“August being national immunization awareness month is a great opportunity to remind everyone that vaccines are not only for children entering school but also adults and there are a number of vaccines that adults are recommended they receive,” said Brito.
Although vaccinations may be fairly new to 1-year-old Paige, there’s nothing new about them says Dr. Murphy.
“If you look at the history of vaccinations, people have been trying to vaccinate since the 1700s. George Washington vaccinated his soldiers against small pox,” he said.
As for Paige, she left the doctor’s office with a clean bill of health.