What if you don't vaccinate your child?

October 7, 2019


What If You Don’t Vaccinate Your Child? 

Your child is at risk for developing a vaccine-preventable disease 

Vaccines were developed to protect people from dangerous and often fatal diseases. These diseases remain a threat. Vaccines are safe and effective protection. 

Influenza or “flu” is a serious respiratory disease that can be deadly. Healthy babies and toddlers are especially vulnerable to complications from influenza. Every year children in the United States die from influenza. 

Pertussis or “whooping cough” is an extremely dangerous disease for babies. It is not easily treated and can result in permanent brain damage or death. Since the 1980s, the number of cases of whooping cough has increased, especially among babies younger than 6 months of age and adolescents. Since 2010, several states have reported an increase in cases and outbreaks of whooping cough, includ- ing statewide epidemics in California and Washington. Whooping cough has killed many babies since 2010; most deaths were in those younger than 3 months of age. 

Measles is a highly contagious disease that can lead to serious complications, including death. It remains common in many countries and has been brought into the United States by returning vacationers and foreign visitors. Vaccination caused measles to decline rapidly during the 1990s. Recently, 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. This has led to outbreaks of measles in the United States, Canada, and other countries. 

Your child can infect others in the community 

Children who are not vaccinated can transmit vaccine- preventable diseases at schools and in the community. 

• Unvaccinated children can infect babies who are too young to be fully immunized. 

• Unvaccinated children can infect people of any age who can’t be immunized for medical reasons. This includes children and adults with leukemia and other cancers, immune system problems, and people of all ages receiving treatments or medications that suppress their immune systems. 

Your child may have to be excluded from school or child care 

During disease outbreaks, unvaccinated children may be excluded from school or child care to protect them and others. This can cause hardship for the child and parent. 

Next steps... 

We strongly encourage you to vaccinate your child. Please discuss any concerns you have with a trusted healthcare provider or call the immunization coordinator at your local or state health department. Your vaccination deci- sion affects not only the health of your child, but also your family, your child’s friends, their families, and your community. 

Chickenpox is very contagious. Before the development of a vaccine, chickenpox killed approximately 100 people every year in the United States. Most were previously healthy. Children infected with chickenpox must be kept out of day care or school for a week or more so they don’t spread the disease to others. 

• For more information about vaccines, visit these websites: 

American Academy of Pediatrics www.healthychildren.org Centers for Disease Control and Prevention www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents 

Every Child by Two 

www.vaccinateyourfamily.org and www.ecbt.org 

Immunization Action Coalition www.immunize.org and www.vaccineinformation.org Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia www.vaccine.chop.edu 

Immunization Action Coalition www.immunize.org and www.vaccineinformation.org Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia www.vaccine.chop.edu


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