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August 21, 2018

Vaccine Exemptions Threaten Kids Heading Back to School. Here’s What Parents Need to Know.

Cindy Cooke, PhD, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP 

A rise in non-medical vaccine exemptions has created hotspots in the U.S. where the risk of contracting diseases like measles is growing, but pediatric and family nurse practitioners (PNPs and FNPs) are out to change that.

Immunizations are consistently listed in the top five medications prescribed by PNPs and FNPs because, largely because PNPs and FNPs are more inclined to work with parents to help put them at ease about vaccinations. If you are on the fence about whether to vaccinate your child before school, here’s what a PNP wants you to know:

Your child’s friends may not be vaccinated. 92 percent of kids are protected, but you may live in a pocket where numbers are much lower.

Vaccines save lives. They will prevent 20 million rising fourth graders from disease and 42,000 from early death.

Vaccines are good for the community. Herd immunity protects people who can’t get vaccinations, like elderly people, infants too young to receive immunizations or immunocompromised people.

Vaccines prevent outbreaks. The flu shot prevents millions of cases of the flu, and the rotavirus vaccine prevents 60,000 hospitalizations every year.

Vaccines are safe. They work, and they don’t cause autism.

It’s natural to be concerned about your child’s health. A PNP or FNP will talk with you about your vaccination fears and help you make the right choice for your family.