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among the top medical achievements of this past century. Major inroads have been made against vaccine-preventable
childhood diseases. These include: measles,
mumps, polio, rubella (German measles), pertussis (whooping cough), diphtheria,
tetanus, haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib disease), hepatitis B, and
varicella (chickenpox). Smallpox
has been eliminated worldwide; and according to the Centers for Disease Control
(CDC), since 1991, polio, caused by a wild type virus, has been eliminated from
the Western Hemisphere
neighbors around the world don’t share our success and because these diseases
linger in other locales, their reintroduction into the U.S. is just a plane ride
away. Parents can’t afford to
become complacent or apathetic about seeing that their children receive the
vaccines that are available. One
example is chickenpox vaccine, which has been on the market since May 1995, and
has been recommended by the CDC to be included in a child’s vaccination
schedule since 1996. The low
response to the use of this relatively new vaccine, as low as 25% in some parts
of the country, has seen chickenpox…often treated by the public as just one of
those diseases kids get… remain the leading cause of vaccine-preventable
deaths in the U.S.
exception of smallpox, many childhood diseases have not gone away and could
easily rear their ugly heads in a population that is negligent or not receptive
to the benefits of vaccination. Further,
widespread vaccination protects others who may be allergic to certain vaccines
or who, because of religious beliefs, can’t or choose not to be vaccinated.
It is important to maintain a vaccination health record.
This is helpful to your physician, especially in situations where several
physicians might be involved, and also helps to keep you on schedule.
Many inaccurate myths exist about vaccination. It is important to get the facts. If you have questions, consult your physician or health worker. If you have access to the Internet you can find a wealth of information…you might start with the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/nip.
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