Today we can protect children from 14 serious diseases. Failure to vaccinate may mean putting children at risk for serious diseases.
Vaccines save lives and prevent death. All research consistently shows that vaccines are safe and effective. Talk to any PNW provider about your questions or concerns before you decide against vaccinating your child.
Are vaccines safe?
Yes. Vaccines are very safe. The United States’ long-standing vaccine safety system ensures that vaccines are as safe as possible. Currently, the United States has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in its history. Millions of children are safely vaccinated each year. The most common side effects are typically very mild, such as pain or swelling at the injection site.
What are the side effects of the vaccines? How do I treat them?
Vaccines, like any medication, may cause some side effects. Most of these side effects are very minor, like soreness where the shot was given, fussiness, or a low-grade fever. These side effects typically only last a couple of days and are treatable. For example, you can apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth on the sore area to ease discomfort.
Serious reactions are very rare. However, if your child experiences any reactions that concern you, call the doctor’s office.
What are the risks and benefits of vaccines?
Vaccines can prevent infectious diseases that once killed or harmed many infants, children, and adults. Without vaccines, your child is at risk for getting seriously ill and suffering pain, disability, and even death from diseases like measles and whooping cough. The main risks associated with getting vaccines are side effects, which are almost always mild (redness and swelling at the injection site) and go away within a few days. Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare and doctors and clinic staff are trained to deal with them. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccines are much greater than the possible side effects for almost all children.
Is there a link between vaccines and autism?
No. Scientific studies and reviews continued to show no relationship between vaccines and autism.
Some people have suggested that thimerosal (a compound that contains mercury) in vaccines given to infants and young children might be a cause of autism, and others have suggested that the MMR (measles- mumps-rubella) vaccine may be linked to autism. However, numerous scientists and researchers have studied and continue to study the MMR vaccine and thimerosal, and reach the same conclusion: that there is no link between them and autism.
Why are so many doses needed for each vaccine?
Getting every recommended dose of each vaccine provides your child with the best protection possible. Depending on the vaccine, more than one dose is needed to build high enough immunity to prevent disease, boost immunity that fades over time, make sure people who did not get immunity from a first dose are protected, or protect against germs that change over time, like flu. Every dose of a vaccine is important because they all protect against infectious diseases that are threats today and can be especially serious for infants and very young children.
Can’t I just wait until my child goes to school to catch up on immunizations?
Before entering school, young children can be exposed to vaccine-preventable diseases from parents and other adults, brothers and sisters, on a plane, at child care, or even at the grocery store. Children under age 5 are especially susceptible to diseases because their immune systems have not built up the necessary defenses to fight infection. Don’t wait to protect your baby and risk getting these diseases when he or she needs protection now.
What are combination vaccines? Why are they used?
Combination vaccines protect your child against more than one disease with a single shot. They reduce the number of shots and office visits your child would need, which not only saves you time and money, but also is easier on your child.
Some common combination vaccines that are currently used are: DTaP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis) and MMR (measles-mumps-rubella).
My child is sick right now. Is it okay for her to still get shots?
Talk with the doctor, but children can usually get vaccinated even if they have a mild illness like a cold, earache, mild fever, or diarrhea. If the doctor says it is okay, your child can still get vaccinated.
What are the ingredients in vaccines and what do they do?
Vaccines contain ingredients that cause the body to develop immunity. Vaccines also contain very small amounts of other ingredients all of which play necessary roles either in making the vaccine, or in ensuring that the final product is safe and effective.
Don’t infants have natural immunity? Isn’t natural immunity better than the kind from vaccines?
Babies may get some temporary immunity (protection) from mom during the last few weeks of pregnancy but only for the diseases to which mom is immune. Breastfeeding may also protect your baby temporarily from minor infections, like colds. These antibodies do not last long, leaving the infant vulnerable to disease.
Natural immunity occurs when your child is exposed to a disease and becomes infected. It is true that natural immunity usually results in better immunity than vaccination, but the risks are much greater. A natural chickenpox infection may result in pneumonia, whereas the vaccine might only cause a sore arm for a couple of days.
View more FAQs from the CDC or call 253-383-5777 to speak with a Pediatrics Northwest scheduler today.