Those of us who are juggling the needs of more than one child knows how easy it is for details to slip between the cracks. However, the vaccine schedule for your child should not be one of them. A recent report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reveals that not all children receive their complete doses of vaccines according to the official CDC vaccination schedule. In fact, the sequence in which children are born within a household may impact their vaccination status.
According to research, vaccines are one of the most effective and safest ways to avoid major illness and death. Vaccinations are often administered to children beginning when they are infants. According to the CDC, children should be immunized against the following diseases by the age of six:
- Hepatitis A and B viruses
- Haemophilus influenzae type B
- Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis
- Pneumococcal disease
- Rubella, measles, and rubella
After correcting for sociodemographic factors, researchers discovered that firstborn children were considerably more likely to be current on all eight individual immunizations and all four vaccine series. In addition, the study indicated that family size might partially explain the results.
Why the Order of Birth Influences Immunizations
According to the report, additional research is required to establish why birth order influences immunizations to this extent. However, researchers did propose some explanations for why it plays such a significant influence.
Children born later in a family may be affected by the number of available resources and the level of parental involvement. First-time parents may feel rushed with their firstborns as they adjust to their new roles. In the case of several children, parents may need to take time off to schedule immunization visits. Instead, they may attempt to combine all their children’s visits, resulting in missed schedules and delayed vaccinations.
The recent pandemic may account for the delay in immunizations of infants born later in life. Due to quarantines, staffing shortages, and temporary clinic closures, it was impossible for many children to be seen by their pediatricians for well-visits on a timely basis. In addition, several physicians retired early or quit the workforce.
As a result, many babies and infants did not receive their immunizations during their “well-child” appointments. Anecdotally, it appears that parents have more ‘vaccine reluctance’ after hearing so many contradictory messages regarding the necessity and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccinations and others from the media over the previous few years.
Why Maintaining Your Child’s Vaccination Schedule Is Crucial
Experts believe that keeping children on schedule for vaccinations is vital for sickness prevention. In fact, data suggests that in 2019, routine children immunizations saved a staggering 24 million diseases, demonstrating their effectiveness.
Follow the CDC’s recommended immunization schedule to prevent bacterial or viral infections from causing disease, difficulties, or death in your children. The reason children receive three rounds of immunizations is that the passive immunity they obtain from their mothers in the womb (antibodies crossing the placenta to protect infants) diminishes approximately six months after birth.
Due to the loss of maternal immunity, unvaccinated newborns are more prone to pertussis (whooping cough), Haemophilus influenzae type B and pneumococcal infections. All of these illnesses can cause respiratory distress, meningitis, and sepsis, and they contribute significantly to the high newborn mortality rate in the United States prior to routine immunizations. Vaccinating your child according to the recommended schedule is crucial.
A new study demonstrates that later-born children are less immunized than first-born youngsters. Due to scheduling restrictions or a lack of urgency, parents may neglect or delay vaccinations; the recent COVID-19 epidemic may also have played a part. Pediatricians assert, however, that keeping youngsters up-to-date on vaccinations is vital for preventing major sicknesses in the future. Parents can mix flu and COVID-19 vaccinations to save time. Consult your child’s pediatrician if you have immunization questions.