Local health departments are significant providers of vaccinations, and 88% of local health departments across the nation provide childhood immunization services. Often the “safety net” healthcare provider in the community, local health departments act as chief public health strategists, and are instrumental in providing immunization services, engaging community stakeholders, and implementing effective and sustainable practices.
As pediatricians, family doctors, public health advocates, clinicians, nurses, and medical assistants, we remain parents’ most trusted source of information about vaccines. We have the profound opportunity to help support parents in understanding and confidently choosing to vaccinate their children on schedule and on time.
From the moment we become parents, we work to keep our children’s environment safe. We child-proof our homes and make sure poisons and dangerous objects are secured wherever our kids spend time. But we aren’t always as diligent about making sure the community spaces where our children learn and play are protected from threats we can’t see, like infectious diseases…
Waiting or delaying vaccines just doesn’t make sense. There is no reduced risk; leaving them unvaccinated just leaves your baby or child vulnerable to infections.
As parents, we all know the typical safety questions you ask when your kids go on play dates, such as “Do you have a dog?,” ”Do you keep guns in the house?,” or “Do you smoke?” But, with the increasing number of parents choosing to forego or delay vaccinating their children and the resulting resurgence of deadly childhood diseases, there is a safety risk when children play with other kids whose vaccination status is unknown.