It’s no secret that public opinion on vaccination has shifted in recent years. Misconceptions abound, including the belief that vaccinations are linked to autism and weaken the immune systems of children. While medical research has debunked these and other myths, many people are still hesitant to vaccinate themselves or their kids.
Vaccinations have saved countless lives since their introduction into modern medicine over 50 years ago. Despite their wide use, some preventable illnesses still pose a risk. Young children are especially vulnerable, as emphasized by the Immunization Action Coalition. “Vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, mumps, and whooping cough, are still a threat. They continue to infect U.S. children, resulting in hospitalizations and deaths every year.”
Unfortunately, these illnesses are on the rise for the first time in years. Between January and July of 2019, there were 1,164 cases of measles reported in the United States, according to data from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention. This is the largest number of cases reported in the country since 1992. Similarly, multiple college campuses across the state of Illinois reported outbreaks of mumps in 2018. Highly contagious illnesses like these can be prevented with vaccines.
At Pillars Community Health, our Health Center providers believe in the power of immunizations and strive to educate every patient about the benefits of staying up-to-date on their health. Not only do vaccinations help to reduce the likelihood and presence of certain illnesses, but they ultimately lead to a better quality of life.
“As doctors, we look at risks and benefits. Less illness means more time spent at work or at school,” says Dr. Kisti Catalano, Chief medical officer at Pillars Community Health. “If you think about all the money and education that people miss out on because of [preventable illness], the benefits outweigh the risks.”
Our providers encourage any patients who might feel unsure about vaccinating themselves or their children to do their own research, but to make sure the sources they are reading are reputable. Many parenting columns, personal blogs, and other sites that contain information or opinions about immunizations are not written or reviewed by medical professionals.
Our Health Center providers strive to educate all patients on the importance of vaccinations, because it creates healthier families and ultimately, healthier communities.
“There are so many things we can prevent or eliminate,” says Dr. Catalano. “At the end of the day, people make up their own minds, but we’re trying to save lives.”
Immunizations, pediatric care and patient education are just some of our Health Center’s many services. Click here for more information about our Health Center.
For more information on vaccinations, visit www.immunize.org.