Importance of vaccinating children Published May 5, 2020 By Airman First Class Aliyah Austin, 6th Medical Operations Squadron, Pediatrics Clinic medical technician MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The debate of whether to vaccinate a child can be overwhelming, especially for a first time parent. However, it is essential to know that vaccinating not only protects children from deadly diseases, but it also eliminates the spread of diseases from one child to another child. According to Stanford Children’s Health, “When children are exposed to a disease in vaccine form, their immune system, which is the body's germ-fighting machine, it is able to build up antibodies that protects them from contracting the disease if and when they are exposed to the actual disease.” When parents object to vaccinating their child it can lead to the increase in exposure and vulnerability to obtaining serious diseases or vaccine-preventable diseases. It is especially imperative to vaccinate as early as two months because the child is at a higher risk of complications. One of the earliest vaccinations to be discovered was the smallpox vaccination. Smallpox was one of the world’s deadliest illnesses that killed 300-500 million people around the world over the last 100 years. Fortunately, the vaccination eradicated the smallpox disease. Measles is another deadly disease that is highly contagious. According to Immunization Action Coalition, “Vaccine hesitancy among parents in the United States and abroad has led to a growing number of children and teens who are not vaccinated and are unprotected from measles.” Nearly 1,300 cases of measles were confirmed in the United States in 2019, which could have been prevented by following recommended vaccinations. This is an increase from 375 confirmed cases of measles in the United States in 2018 and 86 confirmed cases in 2016. When deciding on whether to vaccinate or not, it is highly recommended to consult with the child’s doctor. As previously stated, without vaccinations, thousands and possibly millions of people could perish or become extremely ill and that alone shows just how imperative it is to vaccinate. The Immunization Clinic is co-located with the Pediatrics Clinic on the first floor of the MacDill’s Military Treatment Facility. For additional information, please contact the Immunization Clinic at (813) 827-9211.