What if your child misses a vaccine shot?
David Adam Perlstein, MD, FAAP
Medical Editor/Author, MedicineNet
For most vaccines, it is never too late to catch up on missed shots. Children who missed their first shots at 2 months of age can start later. Children who have gotten some of their shots and then fallen behind schedule can catch up without having to start over. If you have children who were not immunized when they were infants, or who have gotten behind schedule, contact your doctor or the health department clinic. They will help you get your children up to date on their immunizations.
It is not recommended that you postpone your child's immunizations just because you know he or she can catch up later. Every month a child goes without scheduled immunizations is a month that the child is not fully protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.
A combination vaccine is more than one vaccine contained in a single shot. They allow a child to get several vaccines at once without having to get as many injections. Several combination vaccines are already in use (for example, MMR, DTaP, Hib/HepB, DTaP/IPV/HepB), and more are under development.
Rarely, a child should wait before getting certain vaccines, or should not get them at all. Tell your doctor or nurse if any of these apply to your child on a day when an immunization visit is scheduled.
- Is your child sick today? (More than a common cold, earache, etc.)
- Does your child have any severe (life-threatening) allergies?
- Has your child ever had a severe reaction after a vaccination?
- Does your child have a weakened immune system (because of diseases such as cancer or medications such as steroids)?
- Has your child received a transfusion or any other blood product recently?
- Has your child ever had convulsions or any kind of nervous system problem?