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A Parent's Guide to Kids' Vaccines


What it's for: Protects (immunizes) individuals' ages 2 through 55 years of age against meningococcal disease, a serious illness caused by a bacteria (Neisseria meningitidis). It is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children 2 to 18 years old in the United States. Bacterial meningitis is an infection of fluid surrounding the brain and the spinal cord that is fatal in approximately 10 percent of the cases and 10 to 20 percent of the survivors have serious adverse effects from the disease including neurologic disabilities, loss of digits or limbs, or hearing loss.

Common side effects: Pain, redness and swelling at the injection site, irritability, joint pain, headache, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite and diarrhea.

Tell your health care provider beforehand if: The individual is currently acutely ill, previously had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of meningococcal vaccine or diphtheria toxoid, has a known sensitivity to vaccine components or latex, or a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS).


Pneumococcal 7-valent Conjugate Vaccine

What it's for: Protects (immunizes) infants and toddlers against serious diseases, such as meningitis, pneumonia, blood stream infections (bacteremia) and sinus and middle ear infections (otitis media) caused by infection with pneumonoccal (Streptococcus pneumonia) bacteria.

Common side effects: Swelling at injection site, fever, fussiness or irritability, restless sleep, drowsiness, decreased appetite, vomiting or diarrhea.

Tell your health care provider beforehand if: Your child is severely ill, has ever had an allergic reaction to a previous dose or component of the vaccine including diphtheria toxoid, has thrombocytopenia (low platelets), a bleeding (coagulation) disorder, or is on anticoagulant therapy.


Pneumococcal Vaccine, Polyvalent

What it's for: A different pneumococcal vaccine that protects (immunizes) children who are at least 2 years old and have certain chronic health conditions (e.g., chronic heart, lung or kidney disease; sickle cell disease) and for routine vaccination of adults 50 years of age and older. The vaccine will help protect these children and adults from pneumococcal disease.

Common side effects: Soreness, warmth, redness, swelling or hardening (induration) at the site of injection and fever.

Tell your health care provider beforehand if: The individual is allergic to any component of the vaccine, has a respiratory illness or other active infection, or has severely compromised cardiovascular and/or pulmonary function.


Poliovirus Vaccine Inactivated

What it's for: The inactivated (killed) poliovirus vaccine protects (immunizes) against the three types of viruses that cause polio, an illness that can cause paralysis or death. For immunization of infants 6 weeks of age and older, children, and adults.

Common side effects: Redness, hardening (induration), and pain at injection site, fever, irritability, sleepiness, fussiness, and crying.

Tell your health care provider beforehand if: The individual has ever had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of polio vaccine, any component of the vaccine, or an allergic reaction to 2-phenoxyethanol, formaldehyde, neomycin, streptomycin, or polymyxin B.

WebMD Public Information from the FDA