Since we were kids, we heard about vaccines for diphtheria, mumps, whooping cough, polio, rubella, and even tetanus. But we don’t know what most of these health problems involve since they were completely eliminated, thanks to vaccines.
Vaccines, as the basis of pediatric preventive care, are given to healthy children. This is why studies are routinely performed to make sure they are safe and effective. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) work together to make recommendations for their administration.
Children’s vaccines are key because they protect children against serious or potentially deadly health problems. Getting many different vaccines does not overload children’s immune systems. For example, babies are exposed to thousands of germs every day. These germs come from their food, the air, and objects they put in their mouths.
The good news is that they are born with an immune system that can fight these everyday germs. But this is not the case with some diseases. That is where vaccination comes in. Thanks to science, today’s vaccines can protect against more diseases using fewer antigens. In fact, these antigens are just a small number of those a baby encounters in a day. These vaccine antigens help their immune system know and fight these diseases.
When someone decides not to vaccinate a child or baby, they are putting them and the people around them at risk of getting a dangerous or potentially deadly disease. Vaccines have kept people healthy for decades. Most children’s vaccines are 90% 99% effective at preventing diseases. If a child catches a disease they have been vaccinated for, their symptoms will be mild but not life-threatening.
This high rate of efficacy is reached thanks to all the clinical studies vaccines are subjected by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in order to approve their use. Only safe, effective vaccines that prove to have greater benefits than risks are approved.
During this back-to-school season, the Puerto Rico Department of Health has reinforced its campaigns to promote routine and COVID-19 vaccines. These initiatives seek to increase the rates of vaccinated children and booster doses in the island.
MONKEYPOX: A Disease to Watch Out For
In Puerto Rico, over 21 monkeypox cases have already been detected. In the United States, the number of cases is now more than 6,600. As a result, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared monkeypox a public health emergency. This lets public agencies use emergency funds and handle the vaccines and treatments for the disease. It will also promote awareness and information efforts, both vital to stop the spread.
Monkeypox can be passed from person to person through respiratory droplets, direct contact with body fluids, or contact with a contaminated matter. So the following measures are recommended:
- Keep a distance of at least 6 feet.
- Avoid close contact with other people, especially skin-to-skin.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol)
- Avoid direct contact with the bodily fluids or wounded tissue of people with the disease.
There is no treatment for monkeypox, so prevention and vaccination are key. Right now, there are two FDA-licensed vaccines to prevent monkeypox. These are JYNNEOS (also known as Imvamune or Imvanex) and ACAM2000. (Reference: Considerations for Monkeypox Vaccination | Monkeypox | Poxvirus | CDC). While there is a limited supply of JYNNEOS in the United States, it is expected to grow in the coming weeks and months. As for ACAM2000, this vaccine is widely available but cannot be used in people who have certain health problems, such as:
- a weakened immune system
- skin conditions like atopic dermatitis
- pregnant women
- and others
Remember that vaccines are the product of clinical and scientific research, designed to keep you, your family, and the public in good health. Ask your doctor and learn about the required vaccines being given at this time to keep everyone safe.