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Printed for you from the St. Mary's of Michigan website on 10/22/14
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Guidelines for Immunization

An important step in prevention

Childhood vaccines or immunizations can seem overwhelming when you are a new parent. Vaccine schedules recommended by agencies and organizations such as the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians cover about 14 different diseases.


Vaccinations not only protect your child from deadly diseases, such as polio, tetanus, and diphtheria, but they also keep other children safe by eliminating or greatly decreasing dangerous diseases that used to spread from child to child.


A vaccine is a dead or weakened version of the germ that causes the disease in question. When children are exposed to a disease in vaccine form, their immune system, which is the body's germ-fighting machine, is able to build up antibodies that protect them from future exposure.


Over the years, vaccines have generated some controversy over safety, but no convincing evidence of harm has been found. And although children can have a reaction to any vaccine, the important thing to know is that the benefits of vaccinations far outweigh the possible side effects. Many childhood diseases can now be prevented by following recommended guidelines for vaccinations:


  • Meningococcal vaccine (MCV4). A vaccine to protect against meningococcal disease.

  • Hep B. This protects against hepatitis B.

  • Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV). A vaccine to protect against polio.

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

  • Hib vaccine. A vaccine to protect against Haemophilus influenzae type b (which causes spinal meningitis and other serious infections).

  • MMR. This protects against measles, mumps and rubella (German measles).

  • Pneumococcal vaccine/PCV13 (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine). A vaccine to protect against pneumonia, infection in the blood, and meningitis. Another form of pneumococcal vaccine, PPSV (pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine) is used in special conditions and in adults.

  • Varicella. This protects against chickenpox.

  • Rotavirus. This prevents infections caused by rotavirus (RotaTeq or Rotarix)

  • Hep A. This protects against hepatitis A.

  • HPV. This protects from human papillomavirus, which is linked to cervical cancer and other cancers. 

  • Seasonal influenza. This protects against different flu viruses.


A child's first vaccination is given at birth. Immunizations are scheduled throughout childhood, with many beginning within the first few months of life. By following a regular schedule, and making sure a child is immunized at the right time, you are ensuring the best defense against dangerous childhood diseases.


Reactions to immunizations

As with any medication, vaccinations may cause reactions, usually in the form of a sore arm or low-grade fever. Although serious reactions are rare, they can happen, and your child's doctor or nurse may discuss these with you before giving the shots. However, the risks for contracting the diseases the immunizations provide protection from are higher than the risks for having a reaction to the vaccine.


Treating mild reactions to immunizations in children:

  • Fussiness, fever, and pain. Children may need extra love and care after getting immunized. The shots that keep them from getting serious diseases can also cause discomfort for a while. Children may experience fussiness, fever, and pain at the immunization site, after they have been immunized.

  • Fever. DO NOT GIVE ASPIRIN. You may want to give your child acetaminophen, a medication that helps to reduce pain and fever, as directed by your child's doctor.

    • Give your child plenty to drink.

    • Clothe your child lightly. Do not cover or wrap your child tightly.

    • Sponge your child in a few inches of lukewarm (not cold) bath water.

  • Swelling or pain. DO NOT GIVE ASPIRIN. You may want to give your child acetaminophen, a medication that helps to reduce pain and fever, as directed by your child's doctor.


    A clean, cool washcloth may be applied over the sore area as needed for comfort.


     

800 South Washington Avenue | Saginaw, MI 48601 |
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