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Vaccines: A Safe, Reliable Path to Children’s Health

Vaccines: A Safe, Reliable Path to Children’s Health

More parents are recognizing the vitally important benefits of pediatric vaccinations as an essential safeguard for their children’s health.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly advocates the timely, routine immunization of children and adolescents that follow a recommended scheduling.

“As a pediatrician, I strongly believe vaccines are important to protect children’s health and the health of the community,” said Dr. Bhaskari Peela, a Washington Township Medical Foundation pediatrics specialist.

“Vaccines have helped reduce the incidence of many diseases around the world. One example is smallpox, a once-common disease that could be disfiguring and even deadly, has been completely eradicated because of vaccination. The last case of smallpox on earth was in 1977.”

Dr. Peela, who earned her medical degree at Andhra Medical College in her birthplace of Visakhapatnam, India, developed a passion for children’s health in her hometown where the cost of health care was out of reach for many families. She earned her American Board of Pediatrics certification in 2010 and is known for her skill, expertise and warm personal touch.

During patient appointments, Dr. Peela introduces specific information about what vaccines should be given and the kind of schedule that should be followed. “We find that a few families want to space them out and we’re OK with that, as long as the vaccines are administered within the age recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” she explained. “It’s simple and easy to keep people healthy.’’

Immunization protects your child against 14 diseases that were once common in the U.S. The schedule is approved by the AAP, the CDC and other health organizations. It is based on review of the most recent scientific data for each vaccine. To be included in the recommended schedule, the vaccines must be licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

A child’s typical immunization schedule starts at birth with a vaccination for Hepatitis B. At 2, 4 and 6 months of age, there are vaccinations for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (called DTap); bacterial illness Haemophilus B (called Hib); pneumococcal bacteria; and also rotavirus.

The schedule continues with vaccinations called for at 4 months, 6 months, 12 months, 15 months and 18 months. Vaccinations for MMR, Varicella and Hepatitis A occur at 12 months. The kindergarten booster is scheduled between 4 and 5 years of age. There are vaccinations for DTap, meningococcal bacteria and HPV for older kids.

“Making sure children and teens are up to date on vaccinations for diseases will protect the health of infants who are not old enough to be vaccinated,” she noted. “Adults also need to make sure their vaccines are current.”

Most parents who are making their first visit to her office arrive with questions about vaccinations that she is accustomed to hearing. “Questions about the vaccine ingredients, safety and if they have side effects are most common.” Dr. Peela said. “We know the body often reacts in very common ways. There could be fever, body aches and pain, swelling or redness at the injection site. These are all typical. The benefits outweigh the risks.”

The CDC agrees, terming the most common side effects as very mild. Dr. Peela pointed to a large study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2015 that encompassed 95,727 children and concluded there is no association between MMR and autism.

The Mayo Clinic also agrees that vaccines do not cause autism. The clinic notes that the 1998 study that raised the issue of this connection was removed from the scientific record and later deemed retracted. In fact, childhood vaccines protect kids from serious illnesses and diseases and their complications, while cutting back on the chances of spreading a disease.

Vaccines are also more effective in preventing illness than simply getting infected to build immunity, according to the Mayo Clinic. Those who become infected and are unvaccinated may have a longer lasting immune response, but they are also at a higher risk of contracting a serious disease. Health care experts agree the foundation of children’s physical well-being is to build for a healthy future and that vaccines play a big part in achieving such a goal.

Dr. Peela said scientific research has been so thorough that children’s health is demonstrably advanced through secure and reliable pediatric vaccines. “Vaccines are safe and effective for kids,” she stressed. Many vaccinations are required by the state of California for children entering public school and many private schools also require proof of vaccination.

For more information about pediatric vaccinations, visit the website. To learn more about Dr. Peela or to schedule an appointment, see