Welcoming a new baby into the world is exciting. Choosing names, nursery decor, and more are fun — but having a baby also means making serious decisions about their health.
Vaccinations are an essential part of your child’s medical care, but it’s normal to have questions. Sudha Challa, MD, and our team at Lenox Medical Clinic specialize in pediatric care and immunizations, and we partner with parents to help them make informed decisions about their children’s health.
We recommend the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) immunization schedule for all babies, children, and teens. Following CDC guidelines means giving their best chances at avoiding preventable illness throughout their life.
Your immune system protects you from disease. If you come in contact with a virus, bacteria, or another disease-causing pathogen, your immune system creates specialized proteins called antibodies to fight it off and prevent you from getting sick.
But it’s important to note that you’re not born with a strong immune system. Newborn babies get some antibodies passed down from their mothers, but those antibodies don’t last forever. Babies and young children haven’t been exposed to many germs in their lives, and that increases their risk of getting sick.
Vaccinations are a way to build your child’s immune system before they get sick. Vaccines expose your immune system to a dead or weakened form of a virus, bacteria, or pathogen. That process gives your immune system the ability to create antibodies and recognize the disease without getting you sick.
If you come in contact with the same pathogen later in life, your immune system already knows what to do. It’s primed to fight the disease more effectively than if you hadn’t been vaccinated. Vaccinations are a safe, effective way to prevent certain illnesses or reduce their severity.
Over the years, vaccinations have been developed for a variety of different diseases. Diseases like polio, rubella, measles, and tuberculosis were once a common cause of death among children, but widespread vaccination has essentially eliminated them and many more from our society.
The CDC has established a pediatric vaccination schedule for children in the United States. Each vaccination and the timing of each dose have been thoroughly researched with children’s immune systems in mind.
The CDC vaccination schedule includes about 15 different diseases, and many vaccinations require more than one shot to be fully effective. Dr. Challa and our team work with parents and children to keep them on schedule as they get their vaccinations.
If you choose to follow the CDC’s schedule, your child will start getting vaccinations within their first six months of life. Early immunization is one of the best ways to ensure your child is as protected as possible throughout their life.
Following the CDC schedule strategically builds your child’s immune system as they grow. Vaccination stimulates their immune system, so it can recognize the pathogen if they encounter it later in life and help them stay healthy.
Having your child get their vaccinations improves their immune system and their health, but it also helps keep others healthy, too. Vaccinations are the most effective if everyone gets them, and many daycares, schools, and other social programs require children to be vaccinated before participating.
Dr. Challa and our team understand that you want to make the best decision for your child and their unique health needs, and we’re here to help you understand which vaccinations are right for them. We help you manage your child’s vaccination schedule, and we provide comprehensive well-checks for babies, children, and teens.
Still have questions about vaccination? Partner with our team to give your child their healthiest possible future. Contact Lenox Medical Center online or call our Chamblee or Johns Creek, Georgia, offices today.