Often, parents are concerned about the number of vaccines an infant or child may be given at one time. Extensive studies have shown that even a small infant’s immune system is safe with multiple exposures at the same time. Of course, the number of actual injections an infant or child receives is reduced by using combination vaccines. These have been studied thoroughly and are just as safe as giving each component individually.
Childhood immunizations protect against harmful and serious diseases caused by a variety of bacteria and viruses, like polio, measles, and bacterial meningitis. Though these diseases are now controlled by vaccinations, the harmful bacteria and viruses still exist. Unprotected individuals are still at risk of developing disease. Keeping your child’s vaccinations up-to-date will ensure your child’s safety if he or she comes in contact with an unvaccinated individual or if exposed to a disease outbreak.
There are side effects to vaccines. A mild fever the day or two after immunizations and a sore, tender area at the site of the injection are common. More serious side effects are possible, so if a severe reaction occurs, your child’s physician may choose not to give further doses of a specific vaccine.
Many parents are surprised to find that having a mild viral illness, even if it includes fever, is not a reason to postpone immunization. It’s more important to immunize your child according to the recommended schedules set by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice.
If you have concerns about a vaccine recommended for your child, definitely discuss this with your pediatrician. Skipping or delaying vaccinations leaves your child vulnerable to disease. Often, infants and small children suffer more from complications due to communicable disease than do adolescents and adults. Vaccine-preventable diseases can cause serious complications, including seizures, brain damage, and even death. The safest way to ensure your child’s protection against communicable disease is to visit your pediatrician regularly and keep up with immunizations.
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