Here are answers to some of the common questions parents have about childhood immunizations.
Q: Why does my child need to be immunized?
A: Immunizations protect children from a variety of diseases including tetanus, whooping cough, polio, measles, mumps and chickenpox. Because vaccines are available, many of these diseases are less common than they once were but, despite being rare, they are still present and vaccination is recommended.
Q: Are vaccines safe?
A: Years of testing are required before a vaccine can be licensed in the United States. Once approved, vaccines are continually monitored for safety, ensuring a safe and effective vaccine supply. The use of combination vaccines is a safe way to reduce the number of shots administered during a single visit.
Q: What vaccines does my child need?
A: Children should receive the following vaccines between birth and six years of age:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (DTaP)
- Haemophilus influenza B (Hib)
- Chickenpox (Varicella)
- Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)
Q: When should my child receive vaccination?
A: The vaccination schedule has been developed and approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Association of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Vaccines are usually given during well-child appointments, which should occur at the following ages:
- 2 months
- 4 months
- 6 months
- 12 months
- 15 months
- 18 months
- 4-6 years
Q: What side effects are common to vaccines?
A: Side effects associated with vaccines are usually mild. These can include soreness or redness where the shot is given. A low-grade fever is also possible. These side effects should last no more than a day or two. If these conditions persist, consult a pediatrician.
Q: Do vaccines cause autism?
A: The AAP, CDC, American Medical Association (AMA) and Institute of Medicine (IOM) agree that there is no link between vaccines and autism. A 2013 CDC study details these findings: http://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(13)00144-3/pdf
Q: Can some vaccines be delayed?
A: Delaying or choosing to leave out a vaccine can put a child at risk, should they be exposed to the disease.
Q: Where can my child be vaccinated?
A: A list of Floyd physicians who treat children can be found here
. Local health departments and community health centers may also perform immunizations.