"I'm going to test him for whooping cough," the doctor said.

"But he was vaccinated for it right? How could he have it?" I asked.

The doctor did a few clicks on the laptop and then confirmed that my son received all the immunizations for whooping cough (also known as pertussis).

"Even though your son got his shots there is still a small possibility he could have it. Since your other children have been vaccinated, it is unlikely they could get it, but if he has it, they would need to be treated with antibiotics as a precaution."

My son did not have whooping cough. During the few days it took to receive the results, I was grateful all of my children were most likely protected from it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), immunizations can help protect your child from contracting 16 different diseases. Some of these illnesses could be deadly, including the flu. You can see a list of recommended vaccinations and the ages they should be administered at cdc.gov/vaccines.

Some parents are worried about their child contracting autism from receiving vaccinations. A study by the National Institutes of Health conducted in 2014 of 1.2 million children concluded there was no link between autism and vaccinations.

Here are 5 Reasons You Should Vaccinate Your Children

  1. Saves your child's life and others

    In 2014 the CDC released a press statement which stated, over the past 20 years immunizations have prevented 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths. These successful statistics are related to the creation of the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, which was developed in response to a reemergence of measles in 1994. This program is a federally-funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children who qualify due to lack of insurance or income.

    More specifically, diphtheria, polio, influenza (flu), measles and bacterial meningitis are all diseases that have been deadly for children; however due to vaccinations, the number of deaths has either decreased or is nonexistent. In the 1920s, every year over 150,000 worldwide would die from diphtheria, but due to immunizations today there are only a few cases a year. Similarly, during 1916, the polio epidemic caused 6,000 deaths a year in the U.S., but today it is considered eradicated due to vaccinations, with the last known case in 1979.

    There is a vaccination for the human papillomavirus (HPV) infections. The HPV infection can lead to cancer in both men and women (cervical cancer). HPV infections cause over 17,000 cancers in women and over 9,000 cancers in men each year in the United States. By receiving this immunization it would prevent contraction of the HPV infection, and the resulting cancers.

    By getting your child vaccinated you are also saving other lives of people who did not get immunized, which is referred to as head immunity. If a certain percentage of a community is immune from a disease, it protects those people who are not immune. An excellent example of when herd immunity did not work was in 2010 when 10 infants under the age of 3 months (they would not have received shots yet) died of whooping cough. The reasons they were exposed to the illness are because there were 5,978 confirmed cases of whooping cough in California due to either children not receiving immunization or adults' immunity that had worn off over time.

  2. Saves you and your child time and money

    Doctors' visits, trips to the hospitals and medications are expensive. Even if you have health insurance in the United States a hospital visit can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Annually 200,000 Americans are hospitalized from flu-related complications. Most medical insurances will cover the flu shot in full which would be free for the individual.

    Being sick with an illness which could have been prevented with a vaccination also results in missing time from work or school. Some people miss up to 10 days of work when they are sick with the flu. And if your children are sick, you might also have to miss work to care for them.

  3. Economic Benefits for Society

    According to analysis by the CDC, hospitalizations avoided and lives saved through vaccination will save nearly $295 billion in direct costs and $1.38 trillion in total societal costs. The annual loss to the U.S. economy due to the flu is $87.1 billion.

    The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has made a commitment to increase access to vaccines in poor countries. This is estimated to save $6.2 billion in treatment costs and $145 billion in production losses.

  4. Side Effects are Rare

    It is rare to have a serious side effect from receiving vaccinations. The most common side effect is soreness in the area where the shot was administered. The benefit of preventing a possible deathly disease far outweighs the mild side effects from the immunization.

  5. The Science Supports the Decision

    There is a significant amount of research and statistics supporting the benefits of receiving immunizations for children and adults. It also has been scientifically proven to be safe and effective against preventing contraction of the disease.


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Cheryl Maguire holds a Master of Counseling Psychology degree. She is married and is the mother of twins and a daughter. Her writing has been published in Parents magazine, Upworthy, "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings" and Your Teen Magazine. You can find her at Twitter @CherylMaguire05