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What you need to know about infant immunization


Friday, April 1, 2016
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Vaccines are a very important part of protecting your children and yourself from some serious diseases. Anyone who has seen a person die or get very sick from a disease that could be prevented by a vaccine knows how important they are.

Immunizing your child is one of the most loving things you can do. Shots work. Shots are safe. They have very few side effects. The benefits far outweigh any risks.

Immunization starts before a baby is born when the mom gets shots to prevent whooping cough (pertussis) and flu when she is pregnant. These vaccines help keep the mom and baby from getting sick. It is important for dads, grandparents, brothers, sisters, and anyone else that will be spending time with your baby to get their whooping cough and flu vaccines too. This protects the newborn baby until they get their own vaccinations.

Be sure to get shots at the right ages. Kids get most of their shots by 2 years of age. But if your child is behind, they can still get vaccinated. Shots for young children are usually given at:

  • Birth
  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 12-23 months
  • 4-6 years

Vaccination protects young children against these diseases:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Hib meningitis
  • Pneumococcal meningitis
  • Polio
  • Rotavirus
  • Influenza
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • Hepatitis A

We don’t see some of these diseases very often anymore. That is because vaccines work. Vaccinations help keep children healthy so disease does not spread in our communities.

It is okay for a baby to receive several shots at the same time. It helps the immune system to grow stronger. Sometimes babies will be fussy or have a slight fever for the first day after shots– this is common. If you have any questions your health care provider will be happy to answer them.

Before you leave the clinic schedule the next appointment and ask your clinic to give you a shot record for each child. You will need them for the doctor, child care, Head Start, school, camp, and even college.

Sometimes parents are worried about how much shots cost. Free or low cost shots are available through the Minnesota Vaccines for Children program. Find out if your child can get free or low cost shots by going to this website: www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/immunize/howpay.html.

If you are looking for more information about the diseases and the vaccines that prevent them, check out the Vaccine Information Sheets. They are available in many languages. The website is: www.immunize.org/VIS.

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