Why Vaccinate?

Vaccines protect your child from disease.

It’s never fun to get a shot. But your baby needs vaccinations to help protect her from diseases that can make her sick. The medicine in vaccinations is called a vaccine. Each vaccine your baby gets helps keep her safe from that disease — even if she plays with, sits near or eats with someone who has it.

It’s important that your child gets his vaccinations to protect his health and so he doesn’t spread diseases to others.


Vaccinations Your Baby Needs
The schedule below shows each vaccine your baby gets, up to six years. It also shows how many doses of each vaccine and when to get them. It’s based on the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) vaccination schedule. The CDC has done lots of research to make sure vaccination schedules are safe for children.

All childhood vaccines are given in two or more doses. Your baby needs more than one dose because each one builds up immunity, which is the body’s protection from disease. A second or third dose is needed for full protection. These doses work best if they’re spread out over time. Your baby may get more than one shot at a time. Don’t worry! Even a newborn can handle many shots at once.

Risks or Side Effects
Most babies don’t have side effects from vaccines. If they do, they usually aren’t serious. Some vaccines may cause a low fever, rash or soreness at the spot where the shot was given. These reactions are good signs that your baby’s immune system is working and learning to fight off infections.

In rare cases, a baby may have a serious allergic reaction to a vaccine. Signs include:

Breathing problems and wheezing.
Throat swelling.

Call your baby’s healthcare provider right away if you notice any of these reactions.

Safety Concerns
Vaccinations do not cause autism. Many studies have shown no association between vaccines and developing autism.

Some people are concerned that thimerosal — a chemical that has mercury in it and is used in some vaccines — causes autism. This concern cam from a study done many years ago, in which the research was flawed. Since then, much careful research has shown that thimerosal in vaccines did not cause autism. Thimerosal is no longer used in vaccines, except in tiny amounts in some flu shots. You can get a thimerosal-free flu vaccine if you wish. Talk to your baby’s provider if you’re concerned about thimerosal in vaccines.

© 2014 March of Dimes Foundation.

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Written by The March of Dimes

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