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4-17-12

Infant Immunizations

Immunizations are one of the most important ways parents can protect their children against serious diseases.

Infants and children are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases, so it is critical they be protected through immunization.  Vaccines have been one of the most important breakthroughs in medicine, says Dr. Craig Batterman, assistant professor of pediatrics at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.  He explains the first vaccines given to infants.

SOUND BITE:  “Actually the first vaccine that we give is right after birth.  We give a hepitatis B vaccine in the hospital to protect, which as been shown to protect against the transmission of hepitatis B virus.  (3:16) And then after that, we typically do vaccines at two months, four months and six months and beyond.”

Some of the other diseases that children are vaccinated for include diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, meningitis, pneumonia, polio, chicken pox, mumps and measles.  Dr. Batterman says that vaccines given to infants are very safe.

SOUND BITE:  “The success rate of vaccines is amazing.  The only true 100 percent success has been small pox and that has been eradicated from the world.  We’ve come close on many other vaccines.  The incidences of disease with most of the vaccine-prevented illnesses is upwards to 99 percent in most cases.”

If parents have questions about vaccines, they should talk to their child’s pediatrician or family physician, who can explain why infant vaccinations are so important.  More information is available on-line from the American Academy of Pediatrics at www.aap.org.

This is Ruth Slottag at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.