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Vaccines offer level of protection — why take chances?

We’ve written much about getting an annual flu shot, which protects not just the individual but the community that may otherwise spread and incubate disease.

We’ve written much about new and emerging diseases that have deadly consequences, the most recent being the coronavirus that has killed more than 1,100 people worldwide so far, including at least one American. The deaths have been mostly in China.

We should be equally concerned about vaccinations for our children.

This is the time of year when youngsters are being registered for kindergarten and their parents are readying them for school.

To attend public school, the state Department of Health wants children to have received a list of immunizations.

These immunizations have cut down on a number of contagious diseases that once were regularly the culprits of many a sick child, and worse.

Polio, alone, is a life-threatening disease that, since 1979, has been eradicated in the United States through vaccination, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The results of polio may include paralysis and death.

Measles, too, was thought to no longer be of concern in the United States, due to a successful vaccination program. Yet that disease resurfaced a year ago when the CDC reported 704 cases in the United States, the highest number since 1994. Most of those getting measles were not vaccinated, according to the CDC.

Yes, it is a parent’s right to choose what’s in the best interest of their child’s health, and local schools respect that right. Parents may get a vaccination waiver and send their children to school without the recommended doses.

Fortunately, the percentage of parents who continue to have their children vaccinated — 96.2 percent in Lycoming County — is high enough that the area, much like the state, has “herd immunity,” which provides resistance to the spread of disease.

Let’s face it, nobody wants disease of any type to spread.

An ounce of prevention can go a long way.

So take advantage of vaccinations for diseases that may be prevented while the world anxiously awaits the way to protect against the next viral threat.

Why take chances with your child’s health?

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