Vaccines for Kids

You may wonder why your child needs so many shots, especially for diseases no one seems to get anymore. Yes, many of the diseases that kids get shot against are rare, at least in the US. But that’s only because vaccines have worked so well.

Some of these diseases may be rare, but they aren’t gone. They’re still out there. And, they are dangerous and can be deadly. If we stopped vaccination, these diseases could become common once again. They could kill countless children. That’s what happened before vaccines were around.

And that’s why we still vaccinate children against them. Vaccines keep your children safe. It’s a lot better to prevent an illness than to treat it.

Why are childhood vaccines so important?

In the first few years of life, children are vaccinated against about 13 different diseases. Any of these illnesses can make babies very sick. Vaccines help their immune systems to fight off these germs.

It’s true that newborns have some of their mother’s immunity to diseases. But this protection wears off. Children also don’t get immunity to all diseases from their mothers.

For these reasons, your child’s vaccinations usually start at birth or about age two months. They’ll continue throughout childhood, since many vaccines are given in a series of shots over a period of years.

What about the risks?

Parents ay also hear that vaccines can cause side effects. That’s true, although most side effects are mild, like fever, soreness, or mild swelling at the site of the shot. Serious side effects ar very rare.

In fact, vaccines are some of the safest medicines we have. As a parent, you have to weight the small risk of a serious side effect with the bigger risk posed by the actual disease. When you compare the risks of a vaccine with the risks of the disease it prevents, vaccines are safer.

Other vaccines

Some children may need more vaccines than just the standard ones. If you’re traveling to a foreign country with your baby, ask your doctor what vaccines he or she may need. Also children with certain medical problems may need more vaccinations than other kids their age.

Talk with your doctor about your child’s situation. He or she will know weather additional vaccines are a good idea for your child.