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Dr. Ana Varela Windemuller, Galen East Internal Medicine & Pediatrics

Immunization saves millions of lives every year and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most cost-effective health interventions. Did you know 14 diseases can be prevented by routine childhood vaccines? These include tetanus, polio, measles, as well as pneumonia and rotavirus diarrhea—the biggest killers for children under the age of 5. Many of these diseases—which were more common before vaccines—are spread person to person through the air by coughing, sneezing, or just breathing.

At Galen, we want to make sure your children are protected from vaccine-preventable diseases. Our pediatricians believe in and support the importance of immunizing children based off the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) immunization schedule. That is why we are spending National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) and World Immunization Week sharing the importance of staying on track with well-child appointments and routine vaccinations. This year, “Vaccines Bring Us Closer” is the theme for World Immunization Week so let us do what we can to bring our families and friends closer while maintaining the health of our loved ones.

Protecting Infants & Children

Routine immunizations are a simple and effective way to protect yourself and your family. We know that vaccinations greatly reduce early childhood death and the burden of infectious diseases and we seek to share that understanding to all our patients. Since vaccines are designed to be given routinely during well-child visits with your pediatrician, they must be extraordinarily safe. Vaccine safety has been studied for decades and these studies continue to find vaccines to be a safe and effective way to prevent serious complications from disease. The AAP works closely with the CDC to make appropriate, safe recommendations for vaccine use. Even after the public begins using a vaccine, the FDA and CDC closely monitor vaccine safety.

Protection prior to exposure is imperative for infants and children, which is why our team at Galen seeks to educate patients on the benefits of following the CDC’s guidelines for child immunization. Although babies are born with some immunity from their mother, the overall performance of the immune system in a young infant is not as protective when compared to older infants, making them more susceptible to serious bacterial (and some viral) infections. The introduction of vaccines is to strengthen their immune system against pathogens that have been known to cause serious morbidity and mortality in this vulnerable population, preventing, or limiting serious complications from these diseases. Vaccines contain only a tiny fraction of the antigens which activate the body’s immune system. Learn more about the CDC’s immunization schedule for children and contact your Galen provider with any questions you may have.

Galen is Chattanooga’s Pediatrician

Our goal is to promote a healthy lifestyle and reduce infant and child illness. Our pediatricians strive to earn the trust of both parent and child while providing evidence-based treatment in a caring, comfortable, convenient, and cost-effective setting. We want you to know our pediatric offices are maintaining safety and hygiene standards so we can safely care for your children. Call your Galen pediatrician’s office to sure your child is scheduled for their routine well-child appointment and is up to date with their immunizations!