Vaccines & Immunizations in Murfreesboro, TN
I’m Dr. Helton.
I started practicing medicine in the year 2000, and over the past 19 years have treated and served over 15,000 patients. I’m the current president of the Middle Tennessee chapter of Family Physicians, an Executive board member of the Tennessee Academy of Family Physicians and Chairman of St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital Family Medicine Department.
Immunization is one of the best ways parents can protect their infants from 14 serious childhood diseases before age 2. Vaccinate your child according to the CDC’s recommended immunization schedule for safe, proven disease protection.
Diseases that vaccine prevent can be very serious—even deadly—especially for infants and young children. Vaccines reduce your child’s risk of infection by working with their body’s natural defenses to help them safely develop immunity to disease. Immunizations have helped improve the health of children in the United States. Most parents today have never seen first-hand the devastating consequences that vaccine-preventable diseases have on a family or community. Although most of these diseases are not common in the United States, they still exist around the world, so it is important to protect your child with vaccines.
Immunizations protect you or your child from dangerous diseases. They help reduce the spread of disease to others. They are often needed for entrance into school or daycare. And they may be needed for employment or for travel to another country.
Because proof of immunization is often a prerequisite for enrollment in school or day care, it’s important to keep your children up to date on their vaccines. The benefit of doing so is that your children will be protected from diseases that could cause them serious health problems. The recommended immunizations for children 0-6 years of age include:
- Hepatitis B
- Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis
- Haemophilus influenzae type B
- Measles, mumps, rubella
- Varicella (chickenpox)
- Hepatitis A
- Meningococcal (for certain high-risk groups)
At one time or another, each of the diseases addressed by these vaccines posed a serious health threat to children, taking their lives by the thousands; today most of these diseases are at their lowest levels in decades, thanks to immunizations.
It’s important to keep your child’s immunizations on schedule and up to date, but if your child misses a scheduled dose he or she can “catch up” later.
The threat of death by disease isn’t the only medical consequence of skipping vaccinations. An unvaccinated child faces lifelong differences that could potentially put him or her at risk. Every time you call 911, ride in an ambulance, go to the doctor or visit the hospital emergency room, you must alert medical personnel of your child’s vaccination status so he or she receives distinctive treatment. Because unvaccinated children can require treatment that is out of the ordinary, medical staff may be less familiar, and less experienced, with the procedures required to appropriately treat your child.
Women who are pregnant but not vaccinated can be vulnerable to diseases that may complicate their pregnancy. A pregnant woman who contracts rubella in the first trimester may have a baby with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), which can cause heart defects, developmental delays and deafness.
People who choose not to vaccinate their children also put others at risk if their child isn’t vaccinated and becomes ill. Special groups of people cannot be vaccinated, including those with compromised immune systems (e.g. those with leukemia or other cancers). These people rely on the general public being vaccinated so their risk of exposure is reduced.