This Letter to the Editor written by Elizabeth Simpson appeared in the Kansas City Star. Read more here.

VACCINES SAVE LIVES

It is important to ensure your child is up to date on required medical procedures before the new school year. As a pediatrician, my job includes providing athletic physicals, evaluating the growth and development of children and administering vaccinations against infectious viruses and bacteria.

In the United States, vaccinations have saved nearly 1 million lives over the last 25 years, with millions of children spared from suffering or disability as a result of diseases and other illnesses that would impair cognitive ability and physical strength or even keep them from attending school. Immunization efforts also provide health professionals with opportunities to help families with other services, including prenatal and neonatal health care, discussions about child development and overall well-being.

By protecting your child from illness with a vaccination, you protect the children and adults with whom your child comes into contact. Vaccinations safeguard not only your child, but also the most vulnerable among us: babies, individuals with compromised immune systems and the small segment of the population for whom immunizations do not work.

We know a visit to the doctor for shots can be a stressful time. This is why we take time to ensure every family understands its child’s course of treatment before we begin. We also know mild side effects such as swelling, redness or moderate pain at the injection site occasionally occur and can cause discomfort. These typically go away quickly, and your child will go about his or her daily life.

Simply put: Vaccines are safe and effective and save lives.