Most parents would agree that they have many schedules to balance. You check the school schedule, work schedule, soccer schedule, PTA schedule, and so on. But there is another schedule that needs attention: the vaccine schedule.
Vaccines are a hot topic right now, and it is important to know what vaccines are, how they work, and which ones are recommended for different kids.
“Vaccines allow your body to safely recognize and learn to fight a disease before you are actually infected,” said Lisa Robertson, executive director of Indiana Immunization Coalition, an organization that educates individuals about vaccines throughout the human lifespan. “Vaccines introduce something that looks like the disease but is much safer. This allows the body to ‘practice’ fighting the disease and create antibodies, which can be used to fight off the real disease in the future.”
Amie Clemons, immunizations program manager at Marion County Public Health Department, agreed, noting that vaccines are a “biological preparation made from killed or weakened bacteria and viruses (germs). The vaccine is introduced into the body where the immune system reacts by producing antibodies. These antibodies destroy the ‘vaccine germ’ as if it was the actual disease. The antibodies then remain in the body, ready to fight off any future invasions by that same bacteria or virus. This is called immunity.”
According to Robertson, most families are following the recommended vaccine schedule, which describes the ages at which children should receive different vaccinations. Less than two percent of toddlers remain unvaccinated. Nevertheless, a conversation around immunizations is much needed.