Immunizations: Questions Parents Ask - Common Questions
Don't babies get natural protection from the mother?
During the last few weeks of pregnancy, mothers give their babies some protection against disease. But it is only for diseases that the mother is protected against. The protection the baby gets does not last long.
Haven't we gotten rid of most diseases children are immunized for?
Vaccinations in the United States have led to a sharp drop in diseases. Better living conditions have also helped, but they aren't enough to protect you from disease.
Remember that a vaccine gives your child protection from the disease. A vaccine does not get rid of the disease. The disease still exists, and if fewer children get immunized for a disease, the disease could come back.
And some diseases no longer found in the U.S., such as polio, still exist in other countries. People who travel or move to the U.S. can bring these diseases into the country. So it's still very important to have your child immunized.
Is it okay to skip a shot when my child is sick?
On very rare occasions, your doctor may suggest waiting to have your child immunized. For example, you may need to wait when your child has:
- A history of serious allergic reaction to a vaccine.
- Severe vomiting or diarrhea, when dehydration is a concern.
- A serious illness, such as pneumonia, bronchiolitis, or a severe asthma attack.
But children usually can still get a shot even when they have a minor illness. This includes a cold or an ear infection. And children usually can still get a shot when they are taking antibiotics.
Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about having your child immunized.