Making the vaccine decision
AAs a parent, you want to protect
your little one from harm. Before you
decide to vaccinate your baby, you may
wish to know more about how vaccines
work with your baby’s immune system and the side effects/
How Vaccines Prevent Diseases
Ensure your baby gets her vaccines according to the
CDC’s recommended schedule to give her the best protection
against 14 serious diseases by age 2.
The diseases vaccines prevent can be dangerous, or even
deadly. Vaccines reduce your child’s risk of infection by
working with their body’s natural defenses to help them safely
develop immunity to disease.
When germs, such as bacteria or viruses, invade the body,
they attack and multiply. This invasion is called an infection,
and the infection is what causes illness. The immune system
that disease in the future. These supplies of cells are called
Vaccines help develop immunity by imitating an infection,
but this “imitation” infection does not cause illness. Instead
it causes the immune system to develop the same response
as it does to a real infection so the body can recognize
times, after getting a vaccine, the imitation infection can cause
minor symptoms, such as fever. Such minor symptoms are
normal and should be expected as the body builds immunity.
As children get older, they require additional doses of
some vaccines for best protection. Older kids also need protection
against additional diseases they may encounter.
Vaccines and Your Child’s Immune System
As a parent, you may get upset or concerned when you
watch your baby get 3 or 4 shots during a doctor’s visit. But,
all of those shots add up to protection for your baby against
14 infectious diseases. Young babies can get very ill from vaccine
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a
group of medical and public health experts that develops recommendations
on how to use vaccines to control diseases in
the United States, designs the vaccination schedule. The ACIP
designs the vaccination schedule to protect young children
before they are likely to be exposed to potentially serious
diseases and when they are most vulnerable to serious infections.
This is the schedule CDC recommends.
Although children continue to get several vaccines up to
their second birthday, these vaccines do not overload the immune
system. Every day, your healthy baby’s immune sys-
germs that cause their immune system to respond. The antigens
in vaccines come from weakened or killed germs so they
cannot cause serious illness. Even if your child receives several
vaccines in one day, vaccines contain only a tiny amount
of antigens compared to the antigens your baby encounters
This is the case even if your child receives combination
vaccines. Combination vaccines take two or more vaccines
that could be given individually and put them into one shot.
Children get the same protection as they do from individual
vaccines given separately—but with fewer shots.
Vaccine Side Effects/Risks
Like any medication, vaccines can cause side effects. The
most common side effects are mild. On the other hand, many
vaccine-preventable disease symptoms can be serious, or
even deadly. Even though many of these diseases are rare in
this country, they still occur around the world. Unvaccinated
U.S. citizens who travel abroad can bring these diseases to the
U.S., putting unvaccinated children at risk.
The side effects from vaccines are almost always minor
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