Vaccine FAQs: the questions you want answered

Vaccines have fallen under a lot of scrutiny in the last decade, so it is important for parents to know the full truth about them.  This is a decision that only you can make for your child.  Do not worry too much about the decisions of friends and family.  You want to get the facts, weigh them and then decide if vaccinations are what you want for your child.

What is a Vaccine?

Many people know that vaccines are given with the goal of preventing disease,but they do not understand exactly how they work.  These introduce antibodies that will help to protect your child against the actual disease should he or she have contact.  This is due to an immune system response.

Are Vaccines Safe?

This is the biggest question that parents ask and it is always a good question.  To clarify a few things, vaccines have never been proven to cause issues like asthma, allergies, autism or diabetes.  Just like any medical intervention, side effects are possible.  With injections, many people report some soreness at the injection site for a day or two.  The child getting the vaccine may also feel a little under the weather for a day or two.  This is pretty normal and goes away.  It is important to note that no vaccine causes the actual disease being vaccinated against.  For example, the flu shot does not cause the flu.

Are There too Many Vaccines for My Baby’s Body?

This is another common and good question.  Baby’s are given a lot of vaccines these days and there are more now than there were when you and your parents were children.  A good way to know that all of these are safe is to look at immune components.  There are about 3,000 of these in a regular ear infection.  Now, all of the vaccines your child will get between birth and his or her eighth birthday only contain 150 of these combined.  So, as you can see 150 is a far cry from 3,000 and it is okay to get your child’s vaccines based on the recommended schedule given by your pediatrician.

Do the Diseases Even Exist?

Yes, all of the diseases being vaccinated against do exist, especially in less wealthy parts of the world.  Also, things like measles, mumps and whooping cough are still here in the United States so it is important to protect against these.

Can a Sick Child be Vaccinated?

Many doctors do say that the flu shot should be given when your child is not sick.  No vaccines should be given during severe illness like pneumonia.  So, the choice to vaccinate when your child is under the weather is ultimately up to you.

Does My Child Need Every Vaccine?

The short answer is no.  For example, many parents do not get their children the HPV vaccine because it is still relatively new.  This is perfectly fine.  You want to really think about the big vaccines like polio, DTP and MMR, but things like HPV and other vaccines that were not around when you were a kid are something you can choose to get or not to get.

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