The importance of childhood immunizations

 A Pew Research Center survey last year revealed that in America, there is still a “belief in the overall value of childhood vaccines….” That’s good news for the health of our communities!

Dr. Radha Iyengar, a longtime pediatrician at TrueCare in Carlsbad, encourages parents to view childhood immunizations as integral to their children’s year-round health. Whether you’re a parent, guardian, or grandparent, we all have a role in staying educated and informed.

“Our guidance is anchored in the scientifically supported immunization schedules of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP),” Dr. Iyengar contends, emphasizing the historical triumphs over diseases like polio, mumps, and many more.

The journey of immunization education starts at well-child checks, extending to every pediatric encounter. Dr. Iyengar’s mission is clear: vaccines are not mere checkboxes but vital shields against invisible threats.

Misinformation remains the primary obstacle. “People naturally refer to their family members and friend circles for opinions. Others rely on Google searches and social media. But we all should scrutinize our sources. The credibility of institutions like the CDC and AAP continues to be the best resources for understanding the safety and efficacy of vaccines.”

With over four decades of experience, Dr. Iyengar has witnessed the transformative power of vaccines. She recalls her early years in residency when severe interventions were used when kids got sick. She contrasts that period with the dramatic decline in illness once vaccines were introduced.

As some diseases fade from memory or no longer pose an immediate threat, it can be difficult for parents to understand the need for those immunizations today. But Iyengar advises, “Kids grow up, and communicable diseases still exist. Immunizations will help their immunity fight infection, especially if they travel abroad.”

She also knows that parents will face hurdles when enrolling their children in school if they don’t have the recommended immunizations. “Pediatricians cannot write vaccine exemptions without a valid medical diagnosis. If you’re new to California and your child is starting school, talk to your pediatrician about the required immunizations. We can help get your child on an adjusted timeline for receiving them.”

When adolescents turn 18, the decision to vaccinate becomes theirs alone. College-bound students, too, must meet immunization requirements. “Don’t assume that missed vaccinations are lost opportunities. With catch-up schedules, there is always a path to take charge of your health journey.”

Educating our diverse communities in North County is an important steppingstone to keeping communities healthy. Dr. Iyengar advises, “Find a provider you trust and seek their medical advice.”

For a healthier future for all, visit the CDC and AAP websites to learn more about childhood immunizations.