A Shot at Good Health

04.19.10 Week of events celebrates strides in vaccines, preventing childhood diseases


Are you up to date on immunizations? With all of the recent buzz flying around from the pro- and anti-vaccine camps, it's no wonder new parents can be a little confused when it comes to immunizations for the kids. But make no mistake, vaccines protect infants and children from serious diseases.

Health officials across the U.S. will be observing National Infant Immunization Week starting this Saturday through May 1. Sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the week has been organized to stress the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases. It will also honor the achievements of vaccine programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities.

Cities and clinics around the U.S. will be holding clinics to offer vaccinations mandated for day care and schools. Check the CDC's list of activities for events in your area.

Currently, most pediatricians follow the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics' schedule of vaccines. Earlier this year, the AAP made a few tweaks to the immunization schedule.

But a rising number of vaccines recommended for babies and children, coupled with concern over potentially toxic ingredients, has prompted more questions than answers. In response, some doctors offer an alternative vaccination schedule, citing an effort to limit side effects and avoid chemical overload. It's also important to remember that a prominent journal recently retracted the 1998 study that sparked the anti-vaccine movement among concerned parents.

Our health experts recommend parents prepare themselves for baby's first shots. The first time your baby gets his or her first vaccines can be emotional—after all no one wants to see a baby cry out in pain.

Remember, parents: Whether you stick to the traditional timeline or scatter your baby's shots, immunizations still offer your baby the best chance at protection from infectious diseases.

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.