The routine childhood vaccines are designed to prevent, or decrease the risk of many diseases. Some diseases are more common than others. Some are more serious than others. Certain diseases are more or less serious or common depending on a child’s age. Understanding these illnesses is an important step in making an educated decision regarding your child’s vaccines.
Here is a very brief look at each of the vaccine-preventable diseases:
Haemophilus Influenza type B
This bacteria causes meningitis and bloodstream infections. It used to be extremely common, but is now very rare. Most cases are in infants or the elderly. It can be fatal.
This bacteria causes meningitis, bloodstream infections, and pneumonia. Severe cases are uncommon, and occur mostly in infants or the elderly. It can be fatal.
This bacteria causes a severe throat and upper lung infection. It can be fatal. It has been virtually eradicated from the U.S.
This bacteria causes weakness and paralysis when allowed to fester in a deep, dirty wound. It is fairly rare and occurs mainly in adults. It can be fatal.
Pertussis (whooping cough)
This bacteria causes severe coughing fits. Fatalities do occur, mainly in young infants. It is still a very common illness in the U.S. because this particular vaccine doesn’t prevent the spread of the disease; it only helps reduce the severity of individual symptoms.
This virus causes severe liver damage. It is a sexually transmitted disease, or contracted through other means of blood exposure. It is fairly common in adults, but very rare in infants and children. It can be fatal.
This virus causes diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration in infants. It is extremely common but rarely serious. Fatalities are rare.
This virus causes muscle weakness and paralysis. It can be fatal. It has been eradicated from the U.S. and entire western hemisphere.
This virus causes fever and rash. It can damage internal organs but is rarely fatal. It is now fairly rare in the U.S.
This virus causes fever and rash. It can damage internal organs but is rarely fatal. It is now fairly rare in the U.S., although we do see some outbreaks amoung young adults.
This virus causes fever and rash. It is now extremely rare in the U.S. It can cause birth defects if a pregnant mom is exposed
This virus causes fever and rash. It is still very common, but fatalities are very rare.
This virus causes a severe intestinal “flu” and mild liver damage in adults. It is very mild in young children, however. It is fairly common, but virtually never fatal.
This virus causes the classic “flu”. It is extremely common and causes some fatalities in infants and elderly.
This bacteria causes severe bloodstream infections and meningitis. It isn’t very common, but has a high fatality rate when it does strike.
This virus causes genital warts and cervical cancer. It is extremely common and is passed through sexual contact.
For the most up to date Immunization Schedule according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, click here.
For a more detailed discussion on these vaccine-preventable diseases, see The Vaccine Book.