It’s okay to have questions about vaccines, and we’re here to give you answers. Dr. Vani explains what vaccines are, how they work, and why we support vaccination for children at MD Pediatrics.
Vaccines: Why are they important?
Dr. Vani: Hello, I’m Dr. Vani Venkatachalam, one of the community pediatricians at MD Pediatric Associates. Today I’m going to talk on a widely discussed topic in pediatrics: immunizations.
What are vaccines?
Dr. Vani: First of all, what are vaccines? Infection-causing bacteria are weakened significantly and reintroduced into the body where they cannot cause infection, but do stimulate the body’s immune system to create anti-bodies. Therefore, they do prepare the body to face infection when exposed in their natural surroundings.
Why is it important to vaccinate?
Dr. Vani: Over the years, through continued and widespread immunizations, we’ve been able to eliminate really serious infections like smallpox and rabies in the U.S., and also significantly reduce infections like tetanus and meningitis. This happens through a process called “herd immunity.” What happens in herd immunity is that we immunize our children, which makes them healthy, but it also minimizes exposure to the infectious agent and thereby protects immunocompromised children, for example those who cannot receive vaccines because they’re fighting cancer or have some other serious medical issue, the elderly, and overall improves the health of the general population as well.
What are the risks?
Dr. Vani: Similar to many medications, vaccines can also have side effects. Now, not everybody gets them, but some of them may, and a vast majority of the side effects are minor. There may be some local redness, swelling, some fussiness, or even low grade fevers, most of which can get better with over-the-counter pain-reducers or fever-reducers like Tylenol. Sometimes serious side effects can happen, and if you are concerned please feel free to talk to your provider.
At MD Pediatrics, we’re fully committed to improving our children’s lives and strongly recommend vaccinations. Remember, vaccines save lives.