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Should I wait until my children are older to vaccinate them?

Because their immune systems have not fully developed, children under the age of five are especially susceptible to disease. Although approximately 80 percent of all children in the United States receive the appropriate vaccinations on schedule, delays in vaccination have been linked to infectious disease outbreaks (specifically whooping cough/pertussis, which can be fatal) among young children. In 2013 in Wisconsin alone, 300 children under the age of one were diagnosed with pertussis, and 177 of them were under the age of six months. Half were hospitalized, and three of them died. By vaccinating early and on-schedule, you can protect your child and other children from disease.

You should vaccinate your children based on the well-studied Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. The immunization schedule is based on when babies and children are most likely to contract or be exposed to certain diseases and when the immune system is most likely to best respond to the vaccinations.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.