SigMT Volume 12 Issue 1

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Page 88 of 115

Babies, children, teenagers, and even adults who receive a vaccine for the first time may need more than one dose. For some vaccines, two or more doses are needed to develop the best immune response. Other vaccines eventually wear off, and a booster dose is needed to remind the body how to fight the illness. With the seasonal influenza vaccine (flu vaccine), adults and children older than six months need to be vaccinated annually because the vaccine is designed each year by experts who research and predict which strains of influenza will circulate in the upcoming season. Parental concerns about vaccines may include the preservative thimerosal, relationship to autism, and number of vaccines given at one time. imerosal is a mercury-containing compound that was previously used as a vaccine preservative. Except for some influenza vaccines in multi-dose vials, currently no recommended childhood vaccines contain thimerosal as a preservative and flu vaccines are available in single- dose vials without thimerosal. Additionally, multiple large studies have concluded that vaccines and thimerosal do not have a causal relationship with autism. Vaccine development has come a long way. In 1980, children routinely received vaccines against seven diseases that contained more than 15,000 antigens. Antigens stimulate the immune system to build immunity. Today, children routinely receive vaccines that protect against 16 diseases, but due to continued research and development they now only contain 173 antigens. In other words, more than twice as many diseases are protected against with a 99 percent reduction in burden on the immune system. e pediatricians at Benefis would like all parents to feel well-informed about vaccines and are happy to address parental concerns. Our pediatric community aims for parents to feel confident vaccinating their children as a safe and effective way to prevent serious disease. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Benefis Pediatrics at (406) 731-8865. SiG MT 89 TO YOUR HEALTH By Dr. Emily Grant Dr. Emily Grant is a board-certified general pediatrician with special interests in preventative medicine and childhood obesity. Dr. Grant and family recently relocated om Orange County, CA to Great Falls to enjoy Montana's outdoor lifestyle. Childhood vaccines, also known as immunizations, are a common core of pediatric medicine. Before infants leave the hospital aer birth, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommend starting to vaccinate infants to protect them against life-threatening illness. Parents are understandably asking more questions about this basic way to prevent disease as information spreads quickly in the digital age. Vaccines have been used for centuries. e implementation of childhood vaccines has led to an amazing decline in the number of affected children. For example, hundreds of thousands of children are saved each year from experiencing pertussis (whooping cough) and measles. Vaccines help protect against disease by mimicking an infection. ankfully, this process does not cause illness. Instead, it causes the human body's immune system to produce special cells and proteins that fight a specific disease. Sometimes this process can cause minor symptoms, such as fever, which are normal and should be expected as the body builds immunity. e body is then le with these cells and proteins that "remember" how to fight that disease should it be encountered in the future. Vaccines Can Protect Children from Life-Threatening Disease S MT

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