FAQ: Children's Vaccines
What if my child misses a vaccination?
The risk of missing scheduled immunization is that your child will have insufficient immunity to fight off the infection at that time.
Since these diseases are now rare, thanks in large part to immunizations, it’s unlikely your child will be infected with the disease. So you can simply pick up where you left off and get back on schedule.
Should your child be very behind in receiving immunizations, the CDC has a helpful way to figure out the "catch-up" schedule. Consult your doctor or the website below: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/scheduler/catchup.htm.
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 injections. TLC alone should suffice.
Others may 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, you can 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 immunization 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. Tell them it is going to hurt, but not too much and not for too long.
Discuss with them 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 positive outcomes (fun activities/rewards) 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.