When is it safe to vaccinate my child?



Why vaccinate? (Is it truly that important?)


Are vaccines really safe?


When is the right time to vaccinate my baby or child?


These three questions are commonly asked when it comes to childhood immunizations.

(We will use the terms “immunization” and “vaccination” interchangeably)


Why vaccinate? (Is it truly that important?)

If you are reading this, you are most likely striving to be the best parent you can be.

That includes keeping your child safe and protecting them from harm. You want to do everything possible to keep your child healthy and protected from preventable diseases. Vaccination is the best way to do that.

Vaccine-preventable diseases include:

  • Measles

  • Whooping cough

  • Haemophilus influenzae type B

  • Influenza.

Children in the United States continue to be affected by these and other diseases that can be prevented by vaccination. Sometimes, these infections result in hospitalizations or even death.


You might ask, “Why not just wait and see if my child gets infected by one of these viruses or bacteria? If they get sick, the doctor can treat my child, right?”


The fact is that there are a lot of diseases that scientists and doctors do not yet have a cure for. The best way to treat these diseases is to prevent the infection in the first place. When parents decide not to vaccinate their children it gives these diseases an opportunity to spread from child to child unchecked. We call this an outbreak.

Sometimes the disease spreads to infants too young to be vaccinated or to people with weakened immune systems, such as people with cancer. When vulnerable people get infected the chance of long-term complications or even death increase. So, vaccinating your child actually protects others that you care about too, not just your own child.


Are vaccines really safe?

Vaccination is safe and effective. All vaccines undergo long and careful review by scientists, doctors and the federal government to make sure they are safe. There are risks associated with vaccinations but those risks are much, much lower than the risk of leaving your child unvaccinated.

About 1 or 2 people in every 1 million doses of vaccine have a severe allergic reaction. That’s why we ask you to watch your child carefully for a few days after their shots and call your provider if any concerns arise.

You will see and hear stories that accuse some or all vaccines of being dangerous and even deadly. These stories are all over social media and the internet. Be aware that there are many sources of false information out there; be wise and make your decisions about vaccination after speaking with a trusted health care provider.


When is the right time to vaccinate my baby or child?

The antibodies that a newborn receives from their mother’s blood are almost gone by eight weeks of age. This is why the first set of baby shots are recommended at two months of age.

The recommended childhood vaccination schedule for the first year of life is 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and then twelve months. The diseases that these vaccines protect against are the most severe in infants and young children; that’s why the timing is so important.

In order to give your baby the best protection from vaccine-preventable diseases, start vaccinating your child at or near two months of age.


Resources

Be careful where you look if you go on the internet. There are several organizations that masquerade as science-based but are actually presenting a twisted version of the facts to scare parents away from vaccinations.


  • American Academy of Pediatrics: www.aap.org/immunization (800)433-9016

  • Immunization Action Coalition: www.immunize.org and www.vaccineinformation.org

  • Vaccine Education Center of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: www.vaccine.chop.edu

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents, (800) CDC-INFO or (800)232-4636


Thanks for being such a great parent to your little one!

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