"The schedule is designed to protect infants from diseases at the times they are at highest risk," Freed said. "If you delay vaccines, you delay protecting your child and put them at risk for life-threatening diseases."
The pertussis, or whooping cough, vaccine is typically given at 2, 4, 6 and 12 months, and then a booster at 4 years. There's a reason for the timing, Freed said.
In adults, whooping cough can cause a barking cough that lasts for weeks, but it's treatable with antibiotics and rarely life-threatening. But in infants, whooping cough can be deadly.
Several babies died in California last year during the worst pertussis outbreak in 50 years. Those most at risk were babies too young to be immunized.
Minnesota and Salt Lake City are experiencing a measles outbreak. Measles can cause pneumonia, brain swelling and even death.
"You don't have look any farther than the biggest pertussis outbreak in California in 50 years and the measles outbreak in Minnesota to see what it looks like when we let our guard down," Kimberlin said.
Check out the recommended vaccine schedule for kids and adults at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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