Immunizations PDF Print E-mail

Due to the widespread use of vaccinations in the United States, the number of cases of some formerly common childhood illnesses like measles, pertussis (whooping cough) and meningitis have dropped by 95%. Immunizations protect millions of children from potentially deadly diseases and save thousands of lives. In fact, certain diseases occur so rarely now that parents sometimes ask if vaccines are even necessary.

This impression is a common misconception about immunizations. The truth is, most vaccine-preventable diseases still exist in the world, even in the United States, although they occur rarely. The reality is that vaccinations still play a crucial role in keeping children healthy.

Vaccines work by preparing your child’s body to fight illness. Each immunization contains either a dead or a weakened germ, or parts of it, that causes a particular disease. Your child’s body practices fighting the disease by making antibodies that recognize specific parts of that germ. This permanent or long-standing response means that if your child is ever exposed to the actual disease, the antibodies are already in place and his body knows how to combat it, so he doesn’t become ill. This is called immunity.

The most common reactions to vaccines are minor, including redness and swelling where the shot was given, fever, and rash. Although in rare cases immunizations can trigger seizures or severe allergic reactions, the risk of these is much lower than that of catching the disease if a child is not immunized. Every year millions of children are safely vaccinated, and almost all of them experience no significant side effects.

There are unsubstantiated rumors, many of which circulate on the Internet, linking some vaccines to multiple sclerosis, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), autism, and other problems. To date, several studies have failed to show any connection between immunizations and these conditions. The number of SIDS cases has actually fallen by almost 80% in recent years, whereas the number of vaccines administered yearly continues to rise.

DTaP

How effective is it?

DTaP protects against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough).

It has been given to children in the United States and some European countries for many decades. Research has shown that immunity, particularly to whooping cough, can decline in older children so a booster injection will protect your child through school.

As well as protecting your child it will also protect babies who are too young to have had all of their immunizations.

How long does it protect?

A further booster of tetanus, pertussis, and diphtheria (Tdap) is now offered at age 11 to improve their long-term immunity to these diseases.

Are there any side effects?

  • Your child may get some of the following side effects, which are usually mild.
  • Redness and swelling at the injection site, which usually disappears in a few days.
  • A hard lump may appear in the same place, but this usually resolves after a few weeks.
  • Rarely, children may feel unwell and irritable and develop a fever.

Hepatitis B Vaccine (HBV)

Hepatitis B is given to all babies.

  • The first dose is typically given with 2 days of birth
  • A second dose is given at 1-2 months of life
  • A third dose is given at 9 months

The vaccine is effective for the majority of babies, children and young adults. We do not yet know how long the vaccine protects people as it was introduced in the 1980s. However, the evidence so far suggests that people who develop immunity after vaccination stay immune for life.

The most common side effects are temporary pain at the injection site and a slight fever.

HiB Vaccine

Hib vaccine protects against Haemophilus influenzae type b. This bacterium can cause obstructed breathing and meningitis in young children. The vaccine has a high efficacy – between 90-100%. By 1999 there was a 97% reduction in diseases associated with Hib compared with the years before the vaccine was introduced.

MMR Vaccine

MMR vaccine protects your child against measles, mumps and rubella (German measles). It is given to children at 12-16 months of age and again before they go to school. Since MMR was introduced in the US, the number of children catching these diseases has fallen to an all-time low.

  • Measles is a serious life threatening illness that often is accompanied by devastating complications.
  • Mumps vaccine prevents mumps, which was the biggest cause of viral meningitis in children.
  • Rubella vaccine protects fetuses from being badly damaged when exposed to the rubella virus in utero.
  • MMR can prevent these diseases in a combined injection.
  • The MMR vaccine can no longer be split into three separate vaccines as they are no longer being individually manufactured.

What are the side effects of MMR?

  • MMR contains three separate vaccines in one injection. The vaccines have different side effects at different times.
  • About a week to 10 days after the MMR some children develop fever and/or a measles-like rash and have a decreased appetite. This is because the measles part of the vaccine is starting to work.
  • About three to four weeks after the injection, rarely a child may get a mild form of mumps as the mumps part of MMR kicks in.
  • In the six weeks after MMR your child may, very rarely, get a rash of small bruise-like spots, which may be caused by the measles or rubella parts of the immunization. This usually gets better on its own. However, if you see spots like this, show them to your doctor.
  • Very rarely, children can have severe allergic reactions immediately after any immunization (about 1 in 100,000 immunizations for MMR). If the child is treated quickly, he or she will recover fully. People giving immunizations are trained to deal with allergic reactions.

The risk of serious side effects from the actual disease far out weighs the risk of your child suffering any of the side effects from the immunization.

Does MMR cause autism?

No! There has not been a single scientific study that has shown that the MMR causes autism. In fact the weight of scientific evidence strongly indicates that MMR does not cause autism.

Polio Vaccine (IPV)

Polio is a disease caused by a virus. It enters a child’s body through the mouth. Polio can cause  paralysis. It can kill people who get it, usually by paralyzing the muscles that help them breathe.  Decades ago, polio was very common in the United States. It paralyzed and killed thousands of people each year before we had a vaccine for it. IPV is a shot, given in the leg or arm, depending on your child's age. Polio vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.

Schedule:  Children get 4 doses of IPV at these ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6-18 months, and a booster dose at 4-6 years.

Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) can prevent polio.

History: A 1916 polio epidemic in the United States killed 6,000 people and paralyzed 27,000 more. In the early 1950’s there were more than 20,000 cases of polio each year.

Polio vaccination was begun in 1955. By 1960 the number of cases had dropped to about 3,000, and by 1979 there were only about 10. The success of polio vaccination in the U.S. and other countries sparked a worldwide effort to eliminate polio.

Today: No wild polio has been reported in the United States for over 20 years. But the disease is still common in some parts of the world. It would only take one case of polio from another country to bring the disease back if we were not protected by vaccine. If the effort to eliminate the disease from the world is successful, some day we won’t need polio vaccine. Until then, we must continue vaccinating our children.

Pneumococcal 13-valent conjugate vaccine (Prevnar)

What does the vaccine protect against?

The vaccine helps to prevent serious pneumococcal diseases, such as meningitis and blood infections. It can also prevent some ear infections, however, ear infections have many causes, and the vaccine is only effective against some of them.

Pneumococcal infection can cause serious illness and even death. Invasive pneumococcal disease is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in the United States. Children under two years of age are at highest risk.

What is the usual recommended schedule for vaccination with Prevnar?

The vaccine is recommended for young children in a four-dose schedule: one dose at 2 months, at 4 months, and at 6 months, and one dose between 12 and 15 months. Prevnar is not routinely recommended for children 2 years of age or older, unless “catch up” vaccinations are required.

FLU Vaccination

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that all children and adolescents be vaccinated annually against influenza. Previously, the ACIP had only encouraged vaccination, however, due to the proven efficacy: safety of the vaccine and to the probability of a flu epidemic, this vaccination is now strongly recommended. This  recommendation expands the age group for which vaccination is recommended. Now, ACIP recommends vaccination for all children and adolescents greater than six months old, unless contraindications are present.

Vaccination is not recommended for children younger than 6 months of age, because this inactivated influenza vaccine is not approved for use in this age group. Live attenuated intranasal vaccine (LAIV, trade name FluMist) is approved only for healthy persons aged 2 to 49 years. Children aged less than 2 years should not receive this Flu Mist.

VARICELLA VACCINE (chicken pox)

Chicken pox is a childhood illness that usually causes mild disease but can be serious or even fatal. About 100 people die from the disease yearly. Before the vaccine 11,000 people were hospitalized each year in the United States, due to complications of chicken pox.

  • The first dose is given between 12-15 months
  • The second vaccine is given between 4-6 years of age.

MENINGOCOCCAL VACCINE (meningitis)

Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial infection. It is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in the United States in children 2-18 years old. About 2,600 people contact this disease yearly and 10-15% die despite treatment with antibiotics. Of those who live, almost 20% will lose arms or legs, become deaf, or have other debilitating problems.

College freshmen and high school students have an increased risk of getting meningococcal disease.

This vaccine is recommended for all children at the age of 11 years.

HEPATITIS A VACCINE

Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease caused by the Hepatitis A virus. It is found in the stool of infected persons. It is usually spread by close personal contact with an infected individual or by eating food or drinking water contaminated with Hepatitis A virus.

  • 20% of people with Hepatitis A are hospitalized.
  • This is a series of 2 vaccines, given something after the first birthday.

GARDASIL VACCINE (Human Papilloma Virus)

Human Papilloma Virus is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States and causes cervical cancer. 20 million people nationwide are infected, with 6.4 million new diagnosed cases each year. It is spread through sexual contact. HPV infections usually DO NOT have symptoms.

Approximately 10,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year in the U.S. and 3,700 die from it. The Gardasil Vaccine prevents 97% of the most common causes of cervical cancer.

This vaccine is given in a 3 part series.

  • 1st dose: given between the ages of 9-26 years.
  • 2nd dose: 2 months after Dose 1
  • 3rd dose: 6 months after Dose 1

Gardasil is indicated in boys and men 9 through 26 years of age for the prevention of genital warts (condyloma acuminata) caused by HPV types 6 and 11.