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Immunizations: Questions Parents Ask - Vaccine Safety

Are vaccines safe?

Yes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carefully evaluates all vaccines for safety. After a vaccine is approved, the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (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).

The risk of problems from a disease is much greater than the risk from the vaccine. Whooping cough, for example, still exists in the U.S. This disease can cause a child to have severe breathing problems or seizures. It can lead to a hospital stay or even death.

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Most of us know our kids need childhood immunizations. But we don’t always know which vaccines our children should get and when. The most current recommendations for some -- but not all -- childhood immunizations from the CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (AICP) include: One rotavirus vaccine (RotaTeq), recommended in a three-dose schedule at ages 2, 4, and 6 months. The first dose should be given at ages 6 weeks through 12 weeks with subsequent doses administered at...

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Do vaccines cause autism?

No. False claims in the news have made some parents concerned about a link between autism and vaccines. But studies have found no link between vaccines and autism.1, 2

What are the side effects of vaccines?

Most side effects from vaccines are minor, if they occur at all.

The area where the shot was given may be sore. And some children may be fussy or get a slight fever. Your doctor or pharmacist can explain the reactions that could occur.

People who are allergic to eggs may have a reaction to the flu vaccine, which contains egg protein. If your child has an egg allergy, ask the doctor if your child can still get the flu vaccine.

Serious side effects are very rare. It's much more dangerous to risk getting the diseases than to risk having a serious reaction to the vaccines.

Isn't it dangerous to get more than one vaccine at a time?

No. Combined vaccines have no greater risk for side effects than a single vaccine does.3

Some parents worry about their children getting several vaccines at the same time. They worry that a child's immune system can't handle all those vaccine organisms at the same time.

Getting more than one shot may seem like a lot for a child's body to handle. But babies have billions of immune system cells that are hard at work all the time, fighting the many thousands of germs they're exposed to every day.

More and more vaccines are being combined into a single shot, such as the measles-mumps-rubella shot. This means fewer shots need to be given. Even though the vaccines are combined, each gives the same protection as it would if it were given alone.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 10, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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