National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

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Vaccinations/Immunizations for Children

Vaccines prevent infectious diseases in people who receive them and protect those who come in contact with unvaccinated, infected individuals. Vaccinating children against diseases helps protect our community's and our children's health.

Before vaccines, many children died from diseases such as whooping cough and polio—diseases that vaccines are now able to prevent. However, according to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been a resurgence of certain vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States in recent years. For example, in 2010, 8,627 cases of whooping cough (pertussis) including 10 infant deaths were reported throughout California—the largest number of cases reported in 63 years.

A 2010 study in the Maternal and Child Health Journal revealed that children in Washington State who received care from complementary health practitioners were substantially less likely to get recommended immunizations and were more likely to be diagnosed with a vaccine-preventable disease.