Why are vaccines important?
Vaccines are important to protect your child from diseases that lead to many serious complications, even death. Some argue that the diseases we vaccinate against are rare, making vaccines unnecessary; however, the reason these diseases are rare is because of vaccines. As more people have stopped vaccinating, we are seeing higher rates of previously eradicated diseases such as measles. In addition, although these diseases are rare in the United States, many are still prevalent around the world and travelers can bring these diseases to our country.
So far this year, there have been 1,182 cases of measles in 30 states, which is the highest number of cases reported in the United States since 1992.1
Are vaccines safe?
Yes! Vaccines are proven to be effective against disease and have been extensively studied to ensure their safety. These vaccines are necessary to keep not only your children healthy and happy, but also to protect those who cannot be vaccinated for legitimate medical reasons, such as chemotherapy for cancer or other immunosuppressive conditions.
Do children’s vaccines contain mercury (thimerosal)?
No! Thimerosal was removed from vaccines for children younger than the age of 6 in 2001.
Do vaccines cause autism?
No! Unfortunately, a British physician named Dr. Andrew Wakefield published an article in 1998 where he concluded that there was a connection between the MMR vaccine and autism. His study only included 8 children. This has been researched many times since with much larger study populations and this claim has been disproven repeatedly. Due to many ethical violations, including being a paid consultant for the lawyers of the parents concerned about potential harm to their children from vaccines, his paper was retracted by the original journal and Dr. Wakefield’s medical license was revoked.
What are the most common vaccine reactions?
Pain, redness, and mild swelling at the site of the injection which develops within the first 12 hours of receiving the vaccine. Fever and fussiness are also possible starting on the day the shot was given. Some children will have decreased energy level and appetite and sleep more than usual. All of these symptoms will typically go away within 1-2 days and do not require treatment.
Will giving more than one vaccine at a time increase side effects?
No! There has been no research that supports the concern that administering more than one vaccine at a time increases the risk of potential side effects. We strongly support the recommended immunization schedule for children and young adults and do not suggest alternative vaccine schedules without a valid medical reason. Alternate schedules place your child at higher risk of contracting a vaccine preventable disease.
How can I make my child more comfortable after vaccines?
For localized reactions you may use a cold pack at the site of the injection. If the area is itchy, applying a 1% over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream twice daily can provide some relief. For discomfort or fever, Tylenol and ibuprofen are appropriate. Please do not give ibuprofen to your infant under 6 months old. The one exception is after 2 month vaccines, if your child has a fever, we recommend that you call the office prior to giving Tylenol.
Are there other resources where I can get accurate information about vaccines?
Yes! The American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC have several wonderful websites and videos where you can find more information. Be cautious of other websites or parenting blogs which may not have accurate information.
1 As of 8/8/19