Your little bundle of joy has arrived and you have taken every measure to make their health and safety a priority. An important part of this includes protecting them from the unseen dangers of communicable diseases through immunization. Vaccines stimulate the immune system to develop antibodies that can provide a defense against various diseases.
How do I know when my baby needs vaccines?
Your health care provider can guide you to the vaccine schedule.
- The first vaccine (Hepatitis B) is given at birth.
- Your child should get vaccines at 2, 4, 6, 12 and 15 months of age. These vaccines are given at the same time as the health supervision exam.
Which diseases do vaccines prevent?
- In the last few decades, scientists have made strides in developing safe vaccines to fight against 16 diseases that used to have serious consequences.
- Immunizing your baby with vaccines protects against serious diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, polio, meningococcal disease, tetanus, rotavirus, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, chickenpox, influenza, and more.
- Vaccines won’t protect children from minor illnesses like colds, but they can keep children safe from many serious diseases.
What if my baby has a reaction to the vaccines?
- One can expect some fussiness, fever, local redness and pain in the area for a few days but these are easily treated.
- If the reaction is more severe like excessive crying for hours or very high fever, communicate with your health care provider immediately.
- Having a reaction does not mean that your child will not be immunized anymore; it just means that more precautions will be taken with the second set of vaccines. It is very unlikely that the child will have another serious reaction.
Why are there outbreaks of diseases like measles?
- An outbreak for a disease will occur mostly in people who are not vaccinated.
- Measles is a disease that is common in many parts of the world including some countries in Asia, Europe, and Africa.
- Travelers with measles bring it to the U.S and when they reach groups of individuals in the communities who are not vaccinated, it spreads quickly.
Do vaccines cause autism?
- Childhood Vaccines do not cause autism.
- Numerous studies have repeatedly shown that there is no correlation between vaccines and autism.
Can I delay vaccines?
No. Delaying the vaccines is like driving with your child in the back seat without a car seat or a seat belt. You may be a very safe driver but you just don’t know when another driver may take a misstep and come crashing into your car. It is just not worth taking that risk. Similarly, you may be very conscientious about good personal hygiene in your house but you cannot control all the virus and bacteria lingering in the environment outside.
Studies show that delaying vaccines does not offer any added benefit and does not decrease the risk of illnesses.
Your child’s health care provider is equipped to address any concerns you may have regarding vaccines. If you need to identify a pediatrician for your child, please visit www.chofsa.org/findadoc