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doctor vaccinating his little patient in clinic on the foreground

Vaccines FAQs

What’s the difference between a vaccine, vaccination and an immunization?

Most people will use these three words to mean the same thing. This is because they are all referring to the same idea.

  • A vaccine is what is delivered by the shot.
  • A vaccination is the shot itself.
  • Immunization is when a person who has been vaccinated builds a resistance to the disease they were vaccinated against.

How do vaccines work?

Vaccines work because our bodies produce antibodies whenever an illness starts to form. A vaccine introduces a dead or weakened virus to your body. Your body produces antibodies when introduced to this virus. This overwhelms any sickness before it can grow.

Can you catch a disease from a vaccine?

The viruses that are used for vaccines are either dead or so weak that they cannot be caught. Even children with a mild illness are usually fine to be vaccinated.

Why should I vaccinate my child?

Vaccinations save lives. They are the most powerful tool we have to stop many dangerous illnesses. It may be tempting to think that there is no reason to vaccinate your child against diseases that seem rare. But the reason that these diseases seem rare is because vaccines have kept them from becoming devastating.

Vaccines also work better with each additional person who is vaccinated.

Do we really need so many immunizations?

Each vaccination you give your child is designed to treat a very serious condition or conditions. They all are essential. While it might seem like a lot for your young child, their vaccination schedule is completely safe.

Who should get vaccinated?

Almost all children should receive all recommended vaccinations. It is simpler to list who should not receive vaccines:

  • Children taking medication that weakens their immune system
  • Children who have had an allergic reaction to a particular vaccine before (this does NOT mean that an allergic reaction from one vaccine means that a child should not receive ANY vaccines)
  • Children who have cancer
  • Children with certain chronic conditions

Your pediatrician will tell you whether or not your child can be vaccinated.

Are there any side effects to vaccines

Those who have been recently vaccinated might have some swelling and soreness where they were injected. A very minor fever may occur. The benefits of receiving a vaccine far outweigh the possibility of the minor discomfort from these side effects.

Some children might have an allergic reaction to a vaccine. These instances are very rare. Your pediatrician is trained to treat these reactions in the unlikely event they happen.

How often are there adverse side effects and reactions?

The frequency of side effects varies depending on the vaccine. You can find more information here. Vaccines are tested to make sure that they are safe and effective. The rare occurrence of side effects is outweighed by their benefit.

What should I do if my child has a reaction to a vaccine?

If your child has a minor reaction like redness or swelling at the site of the shot, you can use a cool, wet cloth to ease the symptoms.

Reduce any fever with a cool sponge bath. Non-aspirin pain relievers may also be given if your pediatrician approves.

Call your doctor if you see something that concerns you. It is most likely a minor side effect, but your doctor can tell you whether or not your child needs to come in for treatment.

Do vaccines cause autism?

There is no legitimate evidence that any vaccines cause autism. The idea that vaccines could cause autism is a result of a flawed medical study. It came from a doctor who has been stripped of his medical license. Research has shown time and time again that vaccines do not cause autism. There is zero risk of it.