Some people question the safety of
immunizations for children. Although minor discomfort
sometimes follows vaccine injections, research does not support claims that
immunizations put a child at any significant risk for harmful side effects. The U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccine information statements list the side effects of each vaccine.
The risk of a serious complication from a disease is far
greater than the risk from the vaccine. For example, 1 child in a group of 20 children may die from diphtheria disease. But only 1 child in a group of 14,000 children may have convulsions or shock after getting the DTaP vaccine. And that child would recover fully.1
The idea that underlies immunizations is simple:
Introduce a small part ("antigen") or a weakened live version of an infectious germ (like a bacterium or virus) into the body by injecting, swallowing, or inhaling it.
This induces the body to make antibodies and other immunological defenses to fight off that perceived threat.
Then, when exposed to the real infectious agent later on, the body has the pre-existing immunity to quickly recognize the germ and muster up the defenses to prevent...
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carefully evaluates all vaccines for
safety. After a vaccine is approved, the FDA, the CDC, the vaccine maker, and several other agencies watch for any reports of rare or unexpected reactions. Federal law requires health professionals to report any reaction
following an immunization to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). For more information about how vaccine safety is checked, see www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/index.html.
Immunizations are safe even if your
Currently has or is recovering from a minor
illness, such as a cold or an ear infection.
a slight fever.
Has had recent exposure to someone with a
Was born early (prematurely).
Had a mild reaction (such as redness at the site of the injection
or a slight fever) from a previous injection.
Some people have voiced concern about
immunizations when multiple vaccines for different
diseases are given at the same time. These people fear that harmful side
effects are more likely because the child's
immune system is not able to combat all of the vaccine
organisms at the same time.