Children: Love Them,
by Tamara Buckles, M.D.
Protect Them, Immunize Them
About the Doctor
Tamara Buckles, M.D.,is a pediatrician and member of the medical staff at Memorial Medical Center. She provides care for young people of all ages, from infants to adolescents. Dr. Buckles received her medical degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.
The recent National Infant Immunization Week, observed in April, is a reminder to all parents of to ensure that they are protected against vaccine-preventable diseases. As part of this annual observance, I want to encourage parents to consult with their pediatricians or family doctors about a vaccine schedule for their children—both infants and older children.
Immunizations are important for children of all ages, and adults as well, as Dr. Overmyer points out in her companion article. Babies need a number of shots from the time they are born until they are 2 years old. Older children and teenagers also need shots.
Some recommended vaccinations include:
- MMR, to protect against measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles)
- Polio, to prevent this disease
- Hepatitis B, to protect against a virus that may cause liver disease
- Varicella vaccine, to prevent chickenpox
- Rotavirus vaccine, to protect against the leading cause of severe diarrhea in infants and children, which can be fatal
- DTaP or DTP, to protect against diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw), and pertussis (whooping cough)
- Hib, to protect against spinal meningitis, pneumonia, joint or bone infections, and throat inflammations
- A new vaccine that protects against pneumococcal diseases. It prevents pneumococcal blood infections and meningitis and may also offer some protection against otitis media, a type of middle-ear infection.
- The influenza shot, for all children ages 6 months and older
- The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, to protect against a virus that causes genital warts and cervical cancer. It is recommended for females between ages 11 and 12. Doctors may be able to give the vaccination to girls as young as age 9. Experts also recommend the vaccine for males ages 9 to 18 to protect against genital warts.
Your child will need to get some of these shots more than once.