9 Things to Know About Childhood Immunizations

As a parent, how can you keep your kid healthy? Keep these ideas in mind as you get your child vaccinated.

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1. Getting Your Child Vaccinated Does Her a World of Good

Protect your child against dangerous, childhood diseases with a simple visit to the doctor. Immunizations make threatening diseases like polio and diphtheria rare. Vaccinations are needed to prevent deadly epidemics and stamp out fatal diseases.

2. There Are Vaccines for a Plethora of Problems

Shield your child with the protection of immunizations. Here are some diseases that childhood vaccines prevent: Diphtheria, Haemophilus influenzaetype b (Hib disease - a major cause of bacterial meningitis), Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Measles, Meningococcal, Mumps, Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Pneumococcal (causes bacterial meningitis and blood infections), Polio, Rotavirus, Rubella (German Measles), Tetanus (Lockjaw), and Varicella (Chickenpox).

3. Childhood Vaccinations Often Require Booster Shots

Childhood vaccinations often require additional doses to boost immunity. Doctors recommend the following immunizations for 2 year-old children:

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); 3 doses of rotavirus vaccine; 1 dose of varicella vaccine; 2-3 doses of influenza vaccine (6 months and older) (number of doses depends on child's birthday)

These vaccinations can usually be given over 5 visits to a doctor or clinic.

4. It's Normal For Your Child to Feel Slight Discomfort After a Vaccination

Minor side effects can occur with any medicine, including vaccines. No need for alarm. Experiencing slight discomfort from a vaccine is normal. The following reactions usually go away within a couple of days: slight fever, rash, or soreness at the site of injection.

5. Serious Reactions to Vaccines Are Rare

Serious reactions to vaccinations are extremely rare. The risks of diseases from not vaccinating are much greater than the risks of strong reactions from vaccinating. Remember that vaccines are frequently monitored for safety.

6. If Necessary, Contact Your Doctor About Side Effects

Have you ever wondered what to do if your child suffers a severe or persistent reaction to a vaccine? Call or bring your child to the doctor immediately. Write down the date, time, and what exactly happened. Ask your doctor or nurse to file a Vaccine Adverse Event Report form or go to www.vaers.hhs.gov to file this form yourself electronically.

7. Don't Hesitate to Vaccinate

Protect your child by vaccinating early and on time (by age 2). Children younger than 5 are especially vulnerable to diseases since they have not yet built up an immunity. You are not only protecting your child from disease, but you are also protecting children at your child's school and daycare.

8. Keep Track of Your Kid's Shots

Record the vaccinations your child receives to make sure he is on track with his immunization schedule. Start a shot record the first time your child is vaccinated, and update it with each immunization. Keeping an accurate record can prevent your child from receiving vaccinations twice if you change to a different doctor.

9. Your Child May Be Eligible for Free Vaccinations

Could your child qualify to receive free vaccines? Vaccines for Children provides free shots for eligible children: children without health insurance, all those who are enrolled in Medicaid, American Indians and Alaskan Natives and those whose health insurance dues do not cover vaccines. Find out if your child is eligible for this federally funded program!

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