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UnityPoint Clinic - Express (Ankeny)

1055 Southwest Oralabor Road
Ankeny, IA 50023

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UnityPoint Clinic - Express (Jordan Creek)

180 Jordan Creek Pkwy
West Des Moines, IA 50266

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UnityPoint Clinic - Express (Waukee)

950 E Hickman Rd
Waukee, IA 50263

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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Altoona

2720 8th Street Southwest
Altoona, IA 50009

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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Ankeny Medical Park

3625 North Ankeny Boulevard
Ankeny, IA 50023

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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Ingersoll

2103 Ingersoll Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50312

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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Southglen

6520 Southeast 14th Street
Des Moines, IA 50320

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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Urbandale

5200 NW 100th Street
Urbandale, IA 50322

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Vaccines and Young Children


Becoming a new parent can be overwhelming and confusing. Everyone has advice, from your mom to your neighbor, and it can be difficult sorting facts from myths. One person you should definitely have on your parenting team is a pediatrician. Your baby’s pediatrician can help you wade through the sea of information that is available and help you make educated choices for your child, especially when it comes to vaccinations.

Pediatrician Dr. Nathan Boonstra is an expert on childhood vaccinations and the diseases they prevent.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends immunizing according to the CDC vaccine schedule,” says Dr. Boonstra. “Blank Children’s Pediatrics strongly recommends this schedule as the safest to protect against dangerous diseases.”

CDC Vaccine Schedule


With so many vaccines, it’s hard to keep track of what disease each vaccine prevents. Here’s a handy chart:


Disease it prevents


Hepatitis B is a liver infection that can be caught a variety of ways, including blood-involved accidents at schools and daycares.

 RV Rotavirus is a stomach virus that can cause severe diarrhea and dehydration.

 DTaP Diphtheria is an infection of the nose and throat that can cause dangerous obstruction of breathing. 

Tetanus is an infection from bacteria in soil and can cause severe muscle spasms.

Pertussis (Whooping Cough) is a severe, unrelenting cough that is particularly deadly to infants. 

 Hib Haemophilus influenzae type B is a bacterial infection that causes pneumonias and ear infections and causes a particularly dangerous type of throat infection. 

 PCV13 Pneumococcal Conjugate is a bacteria that causes a lot of pneumonia and other infections.
 IPV Inactivated Polio is a gastrointestinal infection that can lead to neurological problems, particularly paralysis.

Measles is one of the most contagious illnesses in the world and causes fever, cough and a rash. Complications include infection around the brain and pneumonia.

Mumps is a virus that can cause inflammation to different organs of the body, including the pancreas, gonads and brain.

is a contagious disease caused by a virus. Symptoms include fever, swollen Lymph nodes, red eyes and full-body rash. Usually mild in children, rubella can be dangerous for pregnant women, causing serious health problems for their babies.

 Varicella Varicella (Chickenpox) was a common childhood illness that used to kill around 100 people per year in the United States, usually from pneumonia. Having chickenpox in childhood is also what causes most cases of shingles in adulthood.
 HepA Hepatitis A is a foodborne illness that can cause liver damage.

Some parents may question why most vaccines are given in a series of two or more doses.

“Getting vaccines is a bit like studying for a test,” says Dr. Boonstra. “Your immune system learns how to fight off a disease better if it reviews the material several times. So, we give vaccines as a series, which gives a much better immune response than just one shot.”

Thanks to vaccines, many of the diseases on the list above have either been eliminated from the country or their numbers are very low. In addition, although all of the diseases on this list can cause hospitalization and death, vaccines have helped reduce the severity of sickness if a child does get sick.

“No vaccine prevents infection 100%,” says Dr. Boonstra, “just like no seatbelt prevents automobile injuries 100%. But both keep you much safer than going without.”

If you have questions or concerns regarding your child’s vaccinations, be sure to speak to your child’s pediatrician.