Pediatric Immunizations

Are Your Child’s Immunizations Up to Date?

Children require specific immunizations in order to promote optimal health throughout their lives. There are a number of immunizations required early on, so it can be a bit confusing of which ones your child needs and when.

Dr. Rosvida San Gabriel, Pediatrician at Riverside Medical Group’s Pediatric Specialist Bradley office, provides important information surrounding immunizations to help parents and caregivers keep up to date.

Rosvida San Gabriel, MD

Does Natural Immunity Work?

As a parent, you may have heard about natural immunity, which some promote as a safer alternative to vaccination. Years ago, prior the development of the chicken pox vaccine, people would have chicken pox “parties,” exposing non-sick children to infected ones. The thought was to just get through the illness and then kids would be protected for life.

Of course, the downside to this approach is that kids had to suffer through all the symptoms. Many people consider chicken pox to be a relatively mild disease, but it can result in very serious complications—even death.

“You have to be miserable first before you get any

antibodies. What the vaccine does is to simulate antibody production,” explains Dr. San Gabriel. “That’s where a lot of confusion comes in because a lot of people think of vaccines as a medicine, something foreign, and that it’s the vaccine that’s doing the work. In reality, it’s our immune system doing the work.”

Understanding Your Child’s Vaccination Schedule

As mentioned, it can be a bit confusing to understand the vaccination timeline. A great resource for understanding your child’s vaccination schedule is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Dr. San Gabriel also often refers parents to

“Other websites I check are children’s hospitals that are very well known when it comes to immunizations, like Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Dr. Offit. He’s very well-known when it comes to immunizations. He’s like the master in this area. Texas Children’s is another good source.”

When in doubt, you can always reach out to your child’s pediatrician with questions.

What Happens If Someone Cannot Be Vaccinated?

Some individuals have medical concerns that prevent them from receiving certain vaccinations, or they may be too young to be vaccinated. That’s why it is so crucial for those around them to make sure they are up to date on their vaccinations. Dr. San Gabriel describes this strategy as community immunity, often referred to as herd immunity.

“Let’s say you’re in a room with nine other people, and there is one person there who, for some reason, cannot get the vaccine. Maybe he’s immunodeficient or he’s just not scheduled to get the vaccine. By him being surrounded by people who are immunized, that medical illness is not able to penetrate the room because it’s not able to spread in that room. Everybody already has antibodies to it. It’s kind of a fringe benefit. You’re actually helping the other ones who cannot get it and that’s why it’s called a herd immunity.”

Again, if you have any questions or concerns whatsoever about your child’s vaccination schedule, inability to get vaccinated, or potential side effects, please reach out to your child’s pediatrician.

Find a pediatrician for your family here.