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Vaccines

By: Jennifer Heegard, MD

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate, that is the question…

Vaccinating and what it means for your child has been a controversial topic throughout the years. As with many medical practices, there is quite a bit of misinformation surrounding vaccines on the internet, in social circles, and beyond. Here at Parkside, we want to calm your fears and equip you with the knowledge you need to make the best decisions for your family. So, let’s get right to it…

Why vaccinate? To put it simply, we firmly believe that choosing to vaccinate your child is one of the most important decisions you can make for your child’s health. Vaccines today are safer and better tolerated than they have ever been in the past and they protect against life-threatening diseases such as meningitis, polio, and whooping cough (to name a few).

What to expect? Parkside has vaccine administration down to an art! We send in two expert clinical staff members when giving two or more vaccines so it can go as fast as possible. Then we immediately distract little ones from the discomfort of a vaccine with bubbles! Most babies and children do not experience any side effects other than initial pain at the injection site and possible muscle soreness. Some children may develop a fever after receiving a vaccine. This does not mean that they are sick, but that their immune system is working properly! It’s okay to give Tylenol if needed, but most babies do not need any medicine and the fever should subside on its own.

What’s in a vaccine anyway? The vaccine contains a small dead or deactivated bit of antigen from the virus or bacteria. Exposing your immune system to this small inactive bit will teach your body to recognize (and respond appropriately) if it is exposed to the actual bacteria or virus. You cannot get sick from this piece of antigen. Your body does this every day with thousands of germs it is exposed to at the grocery store or school! With vaccines, we are just making sure your immune system gets trained to recognize these specific life-threatening diseases. A common misconception is that giving multiple vaccines on the same day could overwhelm a child’s immune system. This is NOT the case as a child’s body is literally programmed for this type of learning experience. Other ingredients are added to sterilize and stabilize the antigen and reading the ingredient list can sound scary. However, these chemicals are in very small amounts and are similar to what’s found in your toothpaste that you use daily.

At Parkside we believe vaccines are important for the prevention of disease and can save your child’s life. If you have any questions or concerns please ask your provider. We are the experts and would love to address any concerns you might have! We are willing to work with families so they feel comfortable with the vaccines given, but feel strongly that the CDC vaccine schedule is the safest way to go. Alternate or delayed vaccine schedules have not gone through the same safety measures and lead to children being vulnerable to disease for longer periods of time. As mentioned above, your child’s immune system is equipped to handle way more on a daily basis than they ever get in a vaccine, so it is perfectly safe to give multiple vaccines at a time.

Want to know more? You can find a full list of the vaccines we recommend for each age on our website (vaccine schedule). If you want to do some of your own research, here is a great resource from an OBGYN and an academic educator with a particular interest in dissecting statistics and sharing evidence-based medicine. Of course, you can always call our office and ask specific questions about any and all vaccines, or simply ask your provider about their stance on vaccinating at your next well check.

Until next time,

Dr. Jenny Heegard

Parkside Provider, potato chip stealer, and avid book worm

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