What You Need to Know About Childhood Immunizations
1. Why your child should be vaccinated
Immunizations protect children from dangerous childhood diseases. Any of these diseases can cause serious complications
and can even kill.
We are also warned to immunize our children, ourselves as adults, and the elderly.
2. Diseases that childhood vaccines prevent
- Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib disease – a major cause of bacterial meningitis)
- Human papillomavirus(HPV – a major cause of cervical and other cancers)
- Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
- Pneumococcal (causes bacterial meningitis and blood infections)
- Rubella (German Measles)
- Tetanus (Lockjaw)
- Varicella (Chickenpox)
3. Number of doses your child needs
The following vaccinations are recommended by age two and can be given over five visits to a doctor or clinic:
- 4 doses of diphtheria, tetanus & pertussis vaccine (DTaP)
- 3-4 doses of Hib vaccine (depending on the brand used)
- 4 doses of pneumococcal vaccine
- 3 doses of polio vaccine
- 2 doses of hepatitis A vaccine
- 3 doses of hepatitis B vaccine
- 1 dose of measles, mumps & rubella vaccine (MMR)
- 2-3 doses of rotavirus vaccine (depending on the brand used)
- 1 dose of varicella vaccine
- 1 or 2 annual doses of influenza vaccine (number of doses depends on influenza vaccine history)
4. Like any medicine,vaccines can cause minor side effects
Side effects can occur with any medicine, including vaccines. Depending on the vaccine, these can include: slight fever, rash, or soreness at the site of injection. Slight discomfort is normal and should not be a cause for alarm.
5. It’s extremely rare, but vaccines can cause serious reactions — weigh the risks!
Serious reactions to vaccines are extremely rare. The risk of serious complications from a disease that could have been prevented by vaccination is far greater than the risk of a serious reaction to a vaccine.
6. What to do if your child has a serious reaction.
If you think your child is experiencing a persistent or severe reaction, call your doctor or get the child to a doctor right away. Write down what happened and the date and time it happened.
7. Why you should not wait to vaccinate
Children under 5 are especially susceptible to disease because their immune systems have not built up the necessary defenses to fight infection. By immunizing on time (by age 2), you can protect your child from disease and also protect others at school or daycare.
8. Be sure to track your shots via a health record
A vaccination health record helps you and your health care provider keep your child’s vaccinations on schedule. If you move or change providers, having an accurate record might prevent your child from having to repeat vaccinations he or she has already had. A shot record should be started when your child receives his/her first vaccination and updated with each vaccination visit.
Keep immunizing until disease is eliminated.
Unless we can “stop the leak” (eliminate the disease), it is important to keep immunizing.