FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
PARENTS- “Are vaccines safe?”
DOCOTR- “Indeed! Vaccines are very safe. Long-standing vaccine safety system ensures that vaccines are as safe as possible. Millions of children are safely vaccinated each year. Most common side effects include pain or swelling at the injection site, which are very mild.”
PARENTS- “Are there any side effects of the vaccines? How does one treat them?”
DOCTOR- “Like any medication, vaccines may also cause some side effects but most of these are very minor. For example-
(a) Soreness where the shot was given.
(c) A low-grade fever.
All of the above mentioned side effects generally last only a couple of days and are curable. Serious reactions are very rare. However, if your child experiences any reactions that are of concern, kindly call the doctor’s office.”
PARENTS- “Are there any risks and benefits of vaccines?”
DOCOTR- “Vaccines help to prevent infectious diseases that once took lives of many infants, children, and adults. Without vaccines, your child is at risk of getting severely sick and suffering from a lot of pain, disability, and even death from diseases such as measles and whooping cough. The foremost risks associated with getting vaccines are side effects, which are mostly mild, like mentioned above They do not last more than a few days.
Serious side effects following vaccination include severe allergic reaction and are very rare. Doctors and clinic staff are trained to deal with such cases. The benefits of getting vaccines such as disease-prevention are much greater than the possible, minor side effects for almost all children.”
PARENTS- “Can vaccines become an overburden on my baby’s immune system?”
DOCTOR- “Vaccines do not burden the immune system. On the contrary, every day, a healthy baby’s immune system is able to successfully fight off millions of germs. A body’s immune system goes to work due to antigen that is a part of germs. These antigens in vaccines come from the germs themselves, though here, the germs are weakened or killed so they cannot cause serious illness. Even if a baby receives several vaccinations in a day, vaccines contain only a tiny fraction of the antigens that babies encounter every day in their environment. Vaccines are essential for good health as they provide your child with the antibodies needed to fight off the serious illnesses for which they have been vaccinated.”
PARENTS- “Why does vaccination begin at such an early age?”
DOCTOR- “The recommended schedule is intended to protect infants and children by providing them with the required immunity early in life, before they are exposed to life-threatening diseases. Due to susceptibility to diseases at a young age, children are immunized early. Moreover the consequences of these diseases can be very grave and even life-threatening, for infants and young children.”
PARENTS- “Is there a need for so many doses for each vaccine?”
DOCTOR- “To provide your child with the best protection possible, get every recommended dose of each vaccine. Depending on the vaccine, more than one dose is needed for the following reasons-
(a) To build high enough immunity to prevent disease.
(b) Boost immunity that fades over time.
(c) Make sure people who did not get immunity from a first dose are protected, or protect against germs that change over time, like flu.
Every dose of a vaccine is vital for protection against infectious diseases that act as threats today and can especially be of serious threat to infants and very young children.”
PARENTS- “Is delaying of some vaccines or following an alternative schedule, advisable?”
DOCTOR- “Benefits of following schedules that delay vaccines aren’t known. Infants and young children, who follow immunization schedules that spread out shots–or leave out shots, are at risk of developing diseases during the time that shots are delayed.
Some vaccine-preventable diseases are still common, and children may be exposed to these diseases during the time they are not protected by vaccines, risking them to even hospitalization or death.”
PARENTS- “What are combination vaccines? What are its uses?”
DOCTOR- “When one shot of vaccine protects your child against more than one disease, then such a vaccine is known as combination vaccine. It has several benefits such as-
(a) It reduces the number of shots and office visits your child would need.
(b) It helps to save your time and money.
(c) It is easier on the child.
Some common examples of combination vaccines that are currently used are:
(1) DTaP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis) (2) MMR (measles-mumps-rubella).”
PARENTS- “Is it a good idea to wait until my child goes to school to catch up on immunizations?”
DOCTOR- “Young children who still haven’t entered school, are exposed to vaccine-preventable diseases from various sources such as parents and other adults, brothers and sisters, on a plane, at child care, or even at the grocery store. Due to their immune systems which lack necessary defenses to fight infection, children under age 5 are especially susceptible to diseases. It is advisable to protect your baby by not taking the risk of getting these diseases.”
PARENTS- “What ingredients are present in a vaccine and what do they do?”
DOCTOR- “Vaccines contain ingredients that help the body to develop immunity. It also contains very small amounts of other ingredients but all of which play necessary roles either in making the vaccine, or in ensuring that the final product is safe and effective.”
PARENTS- “If chickenpox is a mild disease, why does my child need a chickenpox shot?”
DOCTOR- “A child needs the chickenpox vaccine because chickenpox can actually be a disease of grave concern. Usually, children experience a mild case of chickenpox, but in some cases, kids may have blisters that become infected. Some might even develop pneumonia. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell the severity of the symptoms in advance. Before vaccine was available, nearly 50 kids died every year from chickenpox, and about 1 in 500 kids who got chickenpox were hospitalized.”
PARENTS- “Is it alright for my child to still get shots if he/she is feeling sick?”
DOCTOR- “Consult the doctor. But children get vaccinated despite a mild illness like a cold, earache, mild fever, or diarrhea. If the doctor says it is fine, your child can still get vaccinated.”
PARENTS- “Don’t infants possess natural immunity? Isn’t natural immunity better than the immunity from vaccines?”
DOCTOR– “Some temporary immunity is passed to the baby from the mother during the last few weeks of pregnancy but it is only for the diseases to which the mother is immune to. Breastfeeding may also protect your baby temporarily from minor infections, like colds. But such antibodies do not last long, making the infant vulnerable to disease. Natural immunity occurs when your child is exposed to a disease and becomes infected. Natural immunity usually results in better immunity than vaccination, but the risks are far greater. For example- a natural chickenpox infection may lead to pneumonia, whereas its vaccine may only lead to a sore arm for a couple of days.”
PARENTS- “Does a link between vaccines and autism exist?”
DOCTOR- “No. According to scientific studies and reviews, there is no relationship between vaccines and autism. There have been beliefs of some people that thimerosal, a compound containing mercury, in vaccines given to infants and young children might be a cause of autism, while others have suggested that the MMR (measles- mumps-rubella) vaccine may be a cause of autism. However, numerous scientists and researchers have studied and continue to study the MMR vaccine and thimerosal, and have reached the same conclusion- There is no connection between vaccines and autism.”
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