August is immunization awareness month

As our trip to Asia draws near, vaccines are on my mind. We’re finishing out the Hepatitis A & B series along with the shots to prevent typhoid, too. My son, Robert, will need the typhoid vaccine – but he’s up to date with all of his other vaccines.

That’s because we followed the immunization schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

I never gave it a second thought because I take the effects of diseases like polio, measles, and dyptheria seriously.

I had the measles. I knew of children who suffered hearing loss from that disease. I remember hearing about mothers exposed to rubella who delivered babies with birth defects. My father-in-law contracted polio and as a result, he walks with a severe limp due to damage to his legs.

Unfortunately, some parents fear vaccines and delay or avoid immunizations altogether. Myths that purport the association between vaccines and autism scare some parents away- even though research has disproved any connection.

The respected science and technology magazine Discover notes that skepticism about vaccines- not the vaccines themselves- may be the real public heath threat.

The outcome from opting out of vaccines is tragic. According to the AAP, six infants in California died from pertussis this year. Recent outbreaks of Hib meningitis in Minnesota and measles around San Diego have been reported.

Need a review of which vaccines are required to attend daycare or school in Arizona? Check out the Arizona Department of Health Services back to school information on immunizations.

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