Why You Should Have Your Child Vaccinated

October 02, 2015

HURON, S.D. – Every year, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices releases a set of vaccination recommendations. When administered on schedule, these recommended vaccines protect children from harmful, preventable diseases, making them an important part of ensuring the health and safety of your child.

Jesse Van Heukelom, MD, a pediatrician with HRMC Physicians Clinic, advises parents to have children immunized on schedule. More than just a personal choice, delaying vaccinations increases your child’s risk of contracting or spreading a preventable illness.

“Even if a child has no symptoms, he or she may be carrying a disease to pass along to other non-vaccinated children,” Dr. Jesse says. “Immunizations protect not only your child, but also others in your household and daycare.”

The standard childhood vaccination schedule recommended by the CDC does not put any more strain on your child’s immune system than he or she would get from going to daycare or to the grocery store,” explained Dr. Jesse.

Five Reasons to Vaccinate Your Child

  1. Properly vaccinating your child can save his or her life.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the use of childhood vaccines during the last 20 years will prevent 322 million illnesses and 732,000 deaths. Vaccinating your child is the only way to protect against 16 different diseases such as diphtheria, polio and meningococcal disease. Many of these diseases can lead to a number of health issues such as brain damage, paralysis and even death.
  2. Vaccines provide a lifetime of protection. A variety of health professionals carefully analyze every vaccine prior to administering them to children. It is extremely rare for a child to experience any serious side effects or allergic reactions to these vaccines. Though these vaccines can cause minor discomfort, the amount of protection they provide outweighs any side effects your child may experience.
  3. The costs are greater if you don’t vaccinate. Those 16 preventable diseases aren’t cheap to treat if your child is infected. In January 2015, there was a confirmed measles outbreak originating from the Disneyland amusement park in Anaheim, California. The outbreak, affecting at least 118 people, cost the California Department of Public Health hundreds of thousands of dollars to contain, since a single case of measles can cost more than $10,000 to treat. If these 118 individuals had been vaccinated, the cost would have been only $20 per person.
  4. Routine immunizations for children can lead to the decline or even elimination of infectious diseases.  In the late 1940s and early 1950s, one of the most feared infectious diseases was polio, crippling 35,000 people every year in the United States. The polio vaccine was introduced in the 1950s, and the United States has stayed polio free since 1979. Now polio exists in only three countries. This is just one of the many benefits of staying on course with the recommended immunization schedule. If every child is immunized, our communities can be free of these highly preventable diseases.
  5. Child vaccinations not only protect your child, but also protect you, your family and your community. If your child follows the immunization schedule, he or she is protecting others who are too ill or too young to get vaccinated. Communities may be protected and outbreaks may be prevented as long as your child stays up to date with vaccinations.

“The body’s immune system is able to handle thousands of foreign bodies introduced every day from things such as the food we eat or water we drink,” Dr. Jesse says. “There’s no research to suggest that vaccines given as directed could adversely overwhelm a child’s immune system. Vaccines prevent diseases that cause pain and discomfort for your child and lead to time away from school (and work for parents), expensive medical costs and potentially even death.”

According to the CDC vaccination schedule, your child should have received the following immunizations by age 12:

  • DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis, by age 6): 5 doses
  • Haemophilus influenzae: 3–4 doses
  • Hepatitis A: 2-dose series
  • Hepatitis B: 3 doses
  • Human papillomavirus: 3-dose series
  • Influenza: 1 dose every year
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR): 2 doses
  • Meningococcal: 1 dose
  • Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13): 4 doses
  • Polio: 4 doses
  • Rotavirus: 2–3 doses
  • Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis, ages 7 and older): 1 dose
  • Varicella: 2 doses

For more information about childhood vaccinations or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jesse, call the HRMC Physicians Clinic at 353-7660 or visit

Dr. Jesse Van Heukelom,
board-certified pediatrician