Doctor explains importance of vaccinations

Published 10:17 am Wednesday, November 4, 2015

When a study was released linking the MMR Vaccine and autism, the topic of childhood vaccinations became a hot-button issue among new parents. Pediatrician Janell Vinson from Merit Health said the report has since been discredited and teaches patients to importance of vaccinations.

Vinson addressed the members of the Vicksburg Kiwanis Club Tuesday afternoon on everything they wanted to know about pediatric vaccines. She added that Mississippi is the No. 1 state in the county at childhood vaccinations.

As a helpful tool, Vinson also provided the members with a recommended vaccine schedule based from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“I always tell parents when they have that precious little newborn ‘I hope you like me, because you’re going to see me a lot for the next two years, and that’s if your baby is perfect,’” Vinson said.

The recommended vaccines to give at an infant’s 2-, 4- and 6-month check ups are the Pentacel for DTaP (Diptheria, Tetanus and Pertussis), Polio and Haemophilus influenza; Prevnar to protect against Pneumococcal disease; Hepatitis B, which is given at birth; and Rotavirus to protect against diarrhea in babies and young children.

Vinson noted a child must be 6-months old before they receive a flu shot and advised if a baby is born in January, the best way for him or her to avoid influenza is to make sure people handling the infant receive their flu vaccinations.

She also mentioned the importance of having the DTaP vaccination when dealing with children less than 1-year old.

“Anybody that’s going to be in close contact with that baby less than 12 months of age, that’s a really good idea because the baby won’t get their first little bit of protection until two months of age and they have to get four of these,” Vinson said.

At the nine-month check up no vaccinations are given, but five are distributed across the 12- and 15-month visits.

“Some people do it differently, but basically during that time there are five vaccines that you need. You can get your MMR, your Varicella and you get a Hep A,” Vinson said. “Then we come back and do our Pentacel and Prevnar so we split those.”

Children receive another Hepatitis shot during the 18-month visit and aren’t required other vaccinations until they’re 4-years-old. During these visits they receive another round of D TaP and Polio, in addition to MMR and Varicella vaccinations.

“I leave that up to the parents. They’re boosters and they just boost their immunity in preparation for Pre-K and Kindergarten. It’s not until 11 or 12 that they get those recommended middle school boosters. That’s the Tetanus, that’s the Menactra for meningitis because now kiddos are in close quarters. There’s boyfriends, there’s girl and you have these meningitis outbreaks there.”

For patients who are still in doubt about vaccinations, Vinson reassures them by making the visit personal and shares that all three of her children are vaccinated.

“All three of my children have received all the vaccines they can for the ages that they are. I have happy, healthy normal children. The research that I’ve seen, these are very safe and very effective,” Vinson said. “I also tell them that we are helping them by preventing them from getting lots of very serious diseases.”