Vaccinations; wellness elves!
I worked on that one for a while this morning, and it’s still a forced metaphor. Sigh.
This week was Beatrice’s six-month wellness tune-up and she be a big girl: 27 inches long and 17 lbs, 2 oz.
When it came to giving Bea her immunizations, we did our due diligence and researched and read and debated and decided.
The evidence against vaccinating just wasn’t substantive enough. In fact, the mysterious link between autism and a common vaccine given to children to protect them against measles, mumps and rubella was found to be unfounded.
Bea’s not old enough for that shot yet, but still immunizing your child with those vaccines listed below is enough to make any parent shudder with fear and discomfort.
Many of these are live viruses for God’s sake and the side effects can and do vary from child to child. Thankfully Bea’s have been mild if not nil, but still…
The evidence just wasn’t there to convince us otherwise. It actually convinced us to immunize.
I listened to a This American Life podcast last December titled Ruining It for the Rest of Us, and one of the stories was about the San Diego parents who didn't vaccinate their child for measles. When their seven-year-old caught the disease on an overseas trip, this decision became a whole community's problem. The outbreak infected 11 children and endangered many others.
That story convinced me to immunize, although the hardest thing for me as a new father is to wait and watch. (Mama can’t even watch.)
We’re in the waiting room, waiting and waiting and waiting after our pediatrician baby wellness check-up. Beatrice is fine at first with the waiting-playing game, but you know how baby attention spans flitter and flutter and sputter like a flames in the rain. Finally the nurse arrives (why does it take a frickin’ half hour between doctor and nurse?).
Polio is administered first. It’s easy. It’s a liquid that baby ingests. Then the shots.
I lean over and coo at Bea, hold her hands on her chest while Mama looks away and the nurse stabs the first shot in Bea’s thigh.
Wait for it. One second, two – face red, mouth wide, silent void – then BABY SHRIEK.
Second shot – Wait for it. One second, two – face red, mouth wide, silent void – then BABY SHRIEK.
(Missed the third shot this time; they were out of Hib.)
Ah, but Beatrice recovers quickly these days, and soon we were all home snuggling like little Easter Bunnies.
Public Service Announcement: Please immunize your children but don’t buy them bunnies or baby chicks this Easter.
Really. The wellness elves thank you.
These immunizations are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- DTaP, to protect against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough).
- Hepatitis A, to protect against hepatitis A, which can cause the liver disease hepatitis.
- Hepatitis B (HBV), to protect against hepatitis B, which can cause the liver disease hepatitis:
- Hib, to protect against Haemophilus influenza type B, which can lead to meningitis, pneumonia, and epiglottitis:
- HPV, to protect against human papillomavirus, the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States and a cause of cervical cancer.
- Influenza (the flu shot), to protect against influenza (the "flu").
- Meningococcal, to protect against meningococcal disease. Before the vaccine came along, meningococcal disease was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children in the United States.
- MMR, to protect against measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles).
- Pneumococcal (PCV), to protect against pneumococcal disease, which can lead to meningitis, pneumonia, and ear infections.
- Polio (IPV), to protect against polio.
- Rotavirus, to protect against rotavirus, which can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and dehydration. This vaccine is given orally, not as an injection.
- Varicella, to protect against chicken pox.
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