immunizations

Childhood Vaccines and Immunizations | Ask a Beaumont Doctor

by Bishara Freij, M.D., Section Head, Pediatric Infectious Disease,
Beaumont Children’s Hospital

immunizations

Childhood vaccines or immunizations can seem overwhelming for parents. Vaccine schedules recommended by agencies and organizations, such as the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians cover many different diseases.

Vaccinations not only protect your child from deadly diseases, such as polio, tetanus, and diphtheria, but they also keep other children safe by eliminating or greatly decreasing dangerous diseases that used to spread from child to child.

A vaccine is a dead, or weakened version, or part of the germ that causes the disease in question. When children are exposed to a disease in vaccine form, their immune system, which is the body’s germ-fighting machine, it is able to build up antibodies that protect them from contracting the disease if and when they are exposed to the actual disease.

Over the years, vaccines have generated some controversy over safety, but no convincing evidence of harm has been found. And although children can have a reaction to any vaccine, the important thing to know is that the benefits of vaccinations far outweigh the possible side effects.

Keep this information in mind to help your child’s immunizations go more smoothly:

  • Common side effects of immunizations include swelling at the site of the injection, soreness, and fever. Discuss these side effects with your doctor and ask what symptoms deserve an office call.
  • Ask your doctor’s office if it participates in an immunization registry. This is a source you can go to if your immunization records get lost.
  • Ask your doctor’s office if it has an immunization reminder or recall system. This type of system will call to remind you when immunizations are due and will warn you if an immunization has been missed.
  • Always bring your immunizations record with you to all of your child’s office visits and make sure the doctor signs and dates every immunization.

Vaccines are some of the safest and most effective medicines we have, and they have made many dangerous childhood diseases rare today.

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