Schedule of Immunizations
Immunizations will be given at various appointments and your child will receive the majority of immunizations by the age of 2 years. These immunizations protect your child against a number of major diseases. We strongly support and follow the Immunization Recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics which can be viewed here.
Q: I've heard that vaccines are not needed because these diseases were disappearing even before the vaccines were developed.
A: This is not true. Many diseases do not occur or spread as much as they used to, thanks to better nutrition, less crowded living conditions, antibiotics, and, most importantly, vaccines. However, this does not mean that the bacteria and viruses that are responsible for these diseases have disappeared. Immunizations are still needed to protect children from these diseases.
Q: Chickenpox is not a fatal disease, so that vaccine is not necessary.
A: This is not true. Each year about 9,000 people are hospitalized for chickenpox. About 100 people die from the disease. The chickenpox vaccine will protect most children from getting chickenpox. Since the vaccine was developed in 1995, millions of doses have been given to children in the United States. Many studies show the vaccine is safe and effective. Research is being done to see how long protection from the vaccine lasts and whether a person will need a booster shot in the future.
Q: I am breastfeeding so my child does not need immunizations.
A: Immunizations are still needed. While breastfeeding is the best nutrition for your baby, it does not prevent infections the way vaccines do. Your child may have fewer colds, but breastfeeding does not protect against many serious illnesses such as whooping cough, polio, and diphtheria like immunizations do.
Q: I've heard that these diseases have been virtually eliminated from the United States, so my child doesn't need to be vaccinated.
A: Immunizations have reduced most of these diseases to very low levels in the United States. However, some of these diseases are still common in other parts of the world. Travelers can bring these diseases into this country, and without immunizations, these infections could quickly spread here.
Q: Is there a link between measles vaccination and autism?
A: No, there is no scientifically proven link between measles vaccination and autism. Extensive reports from both the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Institute of Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conclude that there is no proven association between Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism.
Q: Aren't measles, mumps and rubella relatively harmless issnesses?
A: Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease that causes rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes, lasting about a week. It causes ear infections and pneumonia in 1 out of every 12 children who get it. It causes encephalitis that can lead to convulsions, deafness or mental retardation in 1 to 2 of every 2,000 people who get it. In 1989-1990, there was a measles epidemic, resulting in 55,000 cases, 11,000 hospitalizations, and 123 deaths. The majority of these cases were in unimmunized preschool children.
Mumps causes fever, headache and swelling of one or both cheeks or sides of the jaw. Four to six people out of 100 who get mumps will get meningitis. Inflamation of the testicles occurs in about 4 of every 10 adult males who get mumps, which may lead to sterility. Mumps may result in hearing loss, which is usually permanent.
Rubella, also knows as German measles, is a mild disease in children and young adults, causing rash and fever for 2 to 3 days. It can cause devastating birth defects if contracted by a pregnant woman; there is at least an 80% chance of damage to the fetus if a woman is infected early in pregnancy.
Q: With so many internet sites on childhood immunization or vaccines, how do I know which one is reliable?
A: It is sometimes difficult to determine whether the information being presented is credible or not. In order to make an informed decision on the accuracy of immunization information obtained from the Internet, ask yourself the following questions:
Who is providing the information? The source of the information should be made clear; be cautious about informaiton attributed to an unnamed source.
Is the information based on sound medical research? Information should contain references from and to peer-reviewed publications.
Is the information up to date? Reliable sites show when they were last updated. Make sure pages have been updated recently, and that the research sited is new.
Does the information make sense? If you find information that is too good (or bad) to be true, it probably is.
Do not assume that flawed information will be easy to detect. Remember, your child's pediatrician is your best resource for immunization information.