Vaccines give parents the safe, proven power to
protect their children from serious diseases like measles and
whooping cough (pertussis).
“Most young parents in the U.S. have never seen the devastating
effects of diseases like measles and polio, but those diseases still
exist,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. “Children who
don’t receive recommended vaccines are at risk of not only getting
those diseases, but of having a severe case of those diseases. You
can’t predict if your child will become sick with a
vaccine-preventable disease, or how severe the illness will be, but
you can provide the best protection by following the recommended
immunization schedule and getting your child the vaccines they need,
when they need them.”
Many vaccine-preventable diseases are still common in other parts of
the world. For example, measles is brought into the U.S. by
unvaccinated travelers who are infected while in other countries.
When measles gets into communities of unvaccinated people in the
U.S. (such as people who refuse vaccines for religious,
philosophical, or personal reasons), outbreaks are more likely to
occur. Illinois experienced a measles outbreak in 2015 in a daycare
in which 12 of the 13 cases were infants too young to be vaccinated.
Vaccines don’t just protect your child; they help protect the entire
community?especially babies who are too young to be vaccinated.
The U.S. has the safest vaccine supply in its history. Vaccines are
thoroughly tested before licensing and carefully monitored after
they are licensed to ensure they are very safe. The vaccination
schedule also has been scientifically shown to be safe. Although
children continue to get several vaccines up to their second
birthday, these vaccines do not “overload” the immune system.
Vaccines contain only a tiny amount of the antigens (the parts of
the germs that cause the body’s immune system to respond) that your
child encounters every day, even if your child receives several
vaccines in one day.
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When a child develops a disease like whooping cough, chickenpox,
or the flu, they may miss several days of school. It could also mean lost money
because a parent or caregiver will need to stay home to provide care and make
trips to the doctor.
The State of Illinois requires vaccinations to protect children
from a variety of diseases before they can enter school. For school entrance,
students must show proof of diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles,
mumps, rubella, haemophilus influenza type b, hepatitis b, and varicella, as
well as pneumococcal and now meningococcal (depending on age) vaccinations. For
more information about immunizations, including vaccination schedules for
infants, children, teens and adults, visit
http:// www.dph.illinois.gov/topics services/prevention-ellness/immunization.
Families who need help paying for childhood vaccines should ask their health
care professional about the Vaccines for Children program, which provides
vaccines at no cost to eligible children who do not otherwise have access to
recommended childhood vaccines. For information, call (312) 746-6050 in Chicago
or (217) 785-1455 for the rest of the state.
[Illinois Department of Public