Why does my son or daughter need to be immunized if everyone around us is vaccinated?

This is often referred to as “herd immunity,” which is when a large percentage of the population is vaccinated and immune to disease and protects those who are not. In order for “herd immunity” to be effective in protecting those who cannot be vaccinated, including people being treated for cancers, people who have allergies to vaccine ingredients and some others, all those who can be vaccinated must be.

Why should my son or daughter be immunized against diseases that aren’t around anymore?

Many serious diseases are nearly eradicated thanks to vaccines. But, unless the disease is completely eliminated, it’s important to keep immunizing. For example, polio used to be a very deadly disease in the United States, crippling and killing tens of thousands of people in the 1940s and 1950s. The U.S. has been polio-free since 1979 thanks to a very effective vaccine. However, polio still exists in other countries and could be just a plane-ride away from the United States. This is why children in the United States still receive four doses of the polio vaccine.

Who decides the immunization schedule?

Each year, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) publishes immunization schedules for children, preteens and teens. These schedules summarize recommendations for routine vaccines for children age 18 years and younger. The recommended immunization schedules are approved by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

What is Herd Immunity?

• A form of immunity that occurs when a certain level of the population within a community is vaccinated against certain infectious diseases to protect those who may not be fully immunized or cannot be fully immunized.n• Typically it takes 90% of the population within a community to reach herd immunity. This is for each and every vaccine. n• For example 90% of the community should be immunized against Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR vaccine) for herd immunity to be reached.n• Herd immunity may also be called: Community Immunity, Social immunity, or Population immunity

How does Herd/Community Immunity work?

• Herd/Community immunity works by breaking the chain of infection. If 90% of people are immune to an infection, it is hard for the organism to find a person to infect and thus the spread of infection is broken. n• Many vaccine preventable diseases are highly contagious – for example Measles is so contagious that 90% of people susceptible to the infection who come into contact with someone who has the disease will be infected.

Who is protected by Herd/Community Immunity?

Certain members of communities may be at an increased risk for many vaccine preventable diseases including the very young (too young to be fully immunized), the elderly (variety of reasons), or those whose immune system is too weak to offer protection (cancer patients receiving Chemo).

I hear that some vaccine preventable diseases are no longer around in the U.S. Why do we need to still be vaccinated against them?

• While many vaccine preventable diseases are at very low levels in the United States, only smallpox has been eliminated. Vaccines are why we are seeing lowe levels of infections in the United States. There are numerous examples where populations in the US have stopped or decreased vaccination rates and the disease rate soon rises. As an example, in numerous cases of measles outbreaks, it has been shown that people not vaccinated against measles had a 20 time increased risk of infection compared to people who had been vaccinated In the U.S. there is a Recommended Vaccine Schedule published annually that provides the recommended list of vaccines for children and adults to receive. These diseases are not seen as often anymore because vaccines work!n• We live in a global society. Traveling/relocating around the world happens every day. Many of these vaccine preventable diseases still occur frequently around the world. It is important that those who can be vaccinated, be fully immunized and on time with their immunizations to protect themselves, their families, and their community. n• For example in 2017 there have been outbreaks of Measles and Polio in Africa, Measles and Mumps in the U.S., Polio and Measles in Pakistan, and Whooping Cough and Measles in Southeast Asia. Additionally in 2014 a Measles Outbreak in Ohio was caused by unvaccinated Amish travelers returning from the Philippines.

What is shedding?

This means that when a person is infected with a germ (virus, bacteria or fungus), and the germ is present in your bodily fluids (saliva, mucus, stool, blood), there is potential to spread the illness to others (sneezing, coughing). Essentially, this is what makes a person with an infection (viral, bacterial, fungal) contagious.

What is vaccine shedding?

The same idea as above and may occur with live weakened vaccines only. However, this type of shedding should not cause disease. Live weakened vaccines develop immunity without the risks of natural infection.