FAQ: Children's Vaccines
What if my child accidently gets an extra vaccination?
There are no additional side effects from receiving an extra vaccination.
How can I minimize the pain of the vaccinations for my child?
Most children handle the mild discomfort from the shots just fine and TLC will suffice.
Others are known to experience more significant pain and/or fever. In that case, giving a pain reliever (such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen) can help to mitigate the symptoms. Heat and gentle massage at the site can also help in some cases.
During the immunization, ask your pediatric provider to use a medication to minimize the pain. This can include a cold spray or a topical anesthetic applied well before the shot is given.
In older children, sometimes distraction can be quite helpful, such as blowing on a pinwheel during shot administration, reading a book together, practicing deep breathing exercises, or letting your child squeeze something as hard as he or she can.
Give TLC and support to your child. Never belittle him or her for crying or acting "like a baby." Try to set reasonable limits ("You have to try to hold still"), but not unreasonable ones ("No crying or fuss allowed").
Also, don't lie. It is going to hurt, but not too much and not for too long.
Discuss what would be helpful coping techniques during the ordeal. Be sure to emphasize why the immunizations are helpful and important. Finally, don't belittle your child's fears. No one likes the shots, but don't dwell on it. Focus instead on what you fun things you will do when it is all over.
Does the immunity from vaccines eventually wear off?
For some it does. That is why "booster immunizations" are now being given at various times.
There is a lot of active research on the waning of immunity over time, so it is likely there will be even more booster shots added to the schedule in the future.
What are the risks of not vaccinating my child?
There is no question: the risks of not vaccinating a child vastly outweigh any potentially serious long-term side effects. Let's do the math for a few:
- If your child were to contract measles, the odds of dying would be 1 in 500, getting pneumonia 6 in 100, and getting encephalitis 1 in 1,000
- If your child were to contract diphtheria, the odds of dying are 1 in 20.
- If your child were to contract tetanus, the odds of dying are 1 in 5.
- If your child were to contract whooping cough (pertussis), the odds of dying are 1 in 100, getting pneumonia 1 in 5, and getting encephalitis 1 in 300. If infants less than 1 year old get pertussis, half can have apnea.
Yes, many of these diseases are now rare (thanks to immunizations) but they can still make a comeback, as happened with measles in England when, because of the autism scare, many parents chose not to immunize their children.
The risk/benefit ratio of immunizations is undeniable. Immunize your kids with pride. One of the greatest gifts you can provide your children is a full set of vaccinations.