As advocates for global wellness and preventive care we recommend vaccinating based on the guidelines developed by the Centers for Disease Control, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
We aim to educate our patients and care givers on evidence based immunization information. We respect a parent’s right to delay or refuse vaccines and work with parents to establish an altered immunization schedule.
If you choose not to vaccinate your child, you will be required to sign a refusal of immunization form, as per our practice policy.
Many parents have question about childhood immunizations. As a caregiver you have the right to be well informed about the healthcare needs of your little ones. The aim of this brochure is to provide answered for frequently asked questions regarding immunizations. The questions have been answered by the Nurses Practitioners here at Whole Life Health Care. If you have further questions or concerns please be sure to share them with your provider.While we respect a parent’s right to refuse vaccinations, we must also stress their importance in preventing disease and sickness. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has called immunizations the greatest public health achievement of the 20th century.
Are vaccines required for children to attend school> Which vaccines does New Hampshire mandate?
All 50 states require vaccinations for public schooling, although there is no mandatory federal law. the state of New Hampshire requires school age children to receive vaccines and boosters for: Hepatitis B, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio, Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Chickenpox. Exemptions are permitted for religious reasons. Please contact your school district for specifics.
What are all these vaccinations for?
- Tdap/Td – Protects against diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw) and pertussis (whooping cough)
- Hep A – Hepatitis A, an acute infection of the liver
- Hep B – Hepatitis B, a chronic infection of liver
- Hib– Haemophilus influenza type b, a leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children under 5yrs
- HPV– Human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer,as well as oral/anal cancer, and genital warts
- Influenza– Protects against the flu, a viral infection
- IPV– Protects against polio
- MCV4– Meningococcal disease, a leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children
- MMR– Protects against measles, mumps, and rubella
- RV– Rotavirus, which causes vomiting, diarrhea, stomach flu, and inflammation of the stomach and intestines
- Varicella– Varicella zoster virus, (chickenpox and shingles)
Why has the list of required vaccines continuously increased over the past 50 years?
With advances in research and technology, more vaccines are available for preventative disease. Vaccine safety and cost effectiveness has improved dramatically. Although we give more vaccines between infancy and age six, the total number of substances needed to boost the immune system has declined from 3,200 in 1960 to 130 in 2013.
New vaccines come out so fast!How do I know the vaccines are actually safe for my child?
Vaccine development is a long, complex process that lasts 10-15 years. Immunizations are carefully monitored by the CDC and FDA. Initially, the vaccine must undergo preliminary laboratory testing, followed by three clinical trials, starting with a small adult population. If the vaccine is intended for children, researchers work their way down the age ladder and carefully monitor subjects for efficacy and side effects. Only then will a vaccine get FDA approval and license.
What is herd immunity?
Herd immunity is the principle that an unvaccinated child will be protected from disease if surrounded by other children who are vaccinated. In order for herd immunity to work, the number of vaccinated children in a community should be above 80%. Recent studies show that so many children are not being vaccinated, especially in progressive communities, that vaccine rates drop below 50% in some areas. When exposed to a vaccine preventable disease, these children are at a higher risk of contracting an infection.
I heard that there is often an inactivated “live” virus in the immunizations given, is that true?
A live, attenuated, vaccine is one in which the virus is weakened and made harmless to the body. When introduced, this virus will reproduce slowly as the body learns to create heightened immunity to the virus making it less likely to contract the disease when exposed. Using a live virus is more cost effective and produces a faster immune response. Live viruses are not given to anyone who is immune compromised and are spaced over a minimum of four weeks.
Should I purposely expose my child to chickenpox, or get the varicella vaccine?
The sooner your child is exposed to the chickenpox virus, the sooner your child gains immunity. Exposing an older child to chicken pox can put them at risk for serious disease complications and hospitalization. Therefore, we recommend both exposure through contact or to the varicella vaccine after twelve months. Remember if your child does get infected, you and your child will be housebound for upwards of two weeks. Please speak with your healthcare provider for specifics and which option is right for your child.
We vaccinate for diseases that aren’t around anymore. Why vaccinate for unseen diseases?
While Polio and Measles are rarely seen in the USA, these diseases can unfortunately still be found globally. Our world is smaller with frequent travel, foreign commerce, and increased inter connectivity. If a disease exists anywhere in the world, a traveler could unknowingly bring it to the USA. This disease would infect the unvaccinated, spread quickly, and cause an epidemic. Because of world wide vaccination efforts small pox has been completely eradicated globally; this vaccine is no longer needed or available.
What about Autism and the MMR vaccine?
The claim that vaccines (specifically the MMR vaccine) cause Autism is inaccurate; the original documentation has been found to be fraudulent. A genetic predisposition and prenatal exposure to chemicals and environmental toxins have long been considered in the development of Autism spectrum disorder. Research is underway studying the biological mechanisms that effect brain development. Please refer to “Autism Speaks” an autism advocacy organization at www.autismspeaks.org and the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov for further information.
What is I am still nervous?Can I separate the MMR vaccine or create my own alternative vaccination schedule?
Combination vaccines have been used since the 1940s and have several advantages over single strand vaccines. They simplify the vaccination process and are designed to work synergistically for optimal protection with no adverse effects. Separate MMR vaccines are generally unavailable due to the extreme cost in manufacturing, thus we do not provide this option here at Whole Life. If you feel strongly about using an alternative vaccination schedule we encourage you to bring the plan to your provider.
Many vaccines contain substances I don’t feel should be added to a vaccine (thimerosal, mercury, aluminum, etc.)Are these substances safe?
Vaccines contain very small amounts of other ingredients, all of which play necessary roles in manufacturing the vaccine, or by ensuring the vaccine is safe and effective. Single dose vials in the United States do not contain mercury (thimerosal). Although no evidence exists of any harm caused by low levels, it was removed as a precautionary measure. Thimerosal is necessary in vaccines that come in multi-dose vials to prevent contamination. Aluminum salts help to stimulate the body’s immune response. Any additives in vaccines are to prevent a loss in potency over time and to prevent secondary bacterial growth.