Immunizations and Vaccines

A Quick Guide to Immunizations

Following is a brief overview of vaccinations and a review of the most common questions concerning vaccinations. We follow the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and encourage all children to be vaccinated. However, if you have researched information about vaccines and do not wish to have your child vaccinated or wish to follow an alternative schedule, we are more than happy to discuss this with you. We use only thiomersal-free and mercury-free, single dose vaccines.

 Why are vaccinations recommended?

Children who are vaccinated are at a much lower risk of catching the disease that is prevented by that particular vaccine. These diseases can cause multiple complications, including serious disability and death. While your child may not be exposed to these diseases in the immediate future, most vaccine immunity lasts many years. With some parents choosing not to vaccinate their children, some of these preventable diseases are becoming more prevalent.

How do vaccinations work?

Vaccines are made from a weakened portion or inactivated form of a virus or bacteria. Commonly, the vaccine contains the ‘antigen’ of the virus or bacteria. This is the portion of the germ that the body reacts to. The vaccine causes the body to react and make antibodies to the weakened form, so that if the body were to encounter the actual virus or bacteria, it would already be prepared to fight it off, causing little to no symptoms.

 What side effects do vaccinations have?

Most vaccines have very mild side-effects. The most common ones include fever, fussiness, sleepiness, mild pain or redness at the injection site. Very rarely a child may have a more serious reaction or an allergic reaction to a vaccine.

 Do vaccinations cause autism?

All of the research and studies regarding thiomersal and mercury in vaccines have not proven any relationship between vaccines and autism. In particular, the MMR vaccine has also not been shown to cause autism or autism-related disorders.

 Why does my child need more than one dose of a vaccine?

One dose of a vaccine only gives partial immunity or protection from a disease. Multiple doses provide the full effect of immunity, as each dose allows the body to make more antibodies, thus better protection against the disease. Some vaccines, such as DTaP, have ‘booster’ doses later in life to ensure that protection does not wear off.

 When can my child not be vaccinated?

Children that have high fever because of unknown cause or have been sick enough to miss daycare or school most likely will not be vaccinated that day. If the illness were to worsen, we would not know if it was a reaction to the vaccination or the normal course of the illness that the child already had. In addition, the immune system also may not react completely to the vaccine as needed because it is already working to fight off another virus or bacteria.

We follow the regular vaccine schedule as proposed by the AAP.

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