Prescription Ark.: Why should we vaccinate?

    3:34 PM, Aug 2, 2012   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - It's less than a month before school starts, which means it's time for immunizations.

    In this month's Prescription Arkansas, THV's Dawn Scott has details on what vaccinations are needed for your family, before the bell rings on the first day.

    "The reason that we vaccinate kids is because we're trying to prevent death," says Dr. Jerry Byrum. He's a pediatrician at All For Kids Clinic in Little Rock.

    "You almost have to have a history lesson to understand why we vaccinate kids," says Dr. Byrum. It's a history lesson that shows child deaths are declining thanks to immunizations.

    "In 1900, there were 180 kids for every 1,000 that were born that died in their first year of life. By 1950, with the few immunizations that were there and improvements in water and other things, that number was down to 37 per 1,000 and today, thankfully that number is only six," says Dr. Byrum.

    For those young ones preparing to head to the classroom, Dr. Byrum says, "If you have a child between four and five years of age, it's time for their DTP, their polio, their MMR, and their chicken pox vaccines."

    He goes on to say, "If your child is at the 11 to 12-year-old time period, it's time for them to get a booster of their tentanus shot, so that's very important, they need to get a meningitis shot called menactra. And then, there's a shot against the human papilloma virus called gardasil."

    These vaccinations, Dr. Byrum says, are essential for all ages, especially through college.

    "All of us have to keep up to date with our shots," he says. "Infectious diseases that used to kill our kids, they're gone. ...And that's just a wonderful thing to see."

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