Straight talk about vaccines for your young child

 

There’s a lot of information out there about the merits and risks of vaccines. With all this conflicting information, parents are rightly concerned about making the best choices for their children. Kaiser Permanente Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) is tackling this challenge on many fronts and is proud to be a member of Vax Northwest. Public and private organizations are joining together to ensure that all children and communities in Washington state are protected from preventable, life-threatening diseases.

Here are some frequently asked questions about vaccines for young children, along with answers based on findings from KPWHRI research.

Why does my child need all these vaccines at such a young age? Is it safer to delay some shots?

The vaccines offered to young babies are for diseases that are especially dangerous to them. These diseases can have devastating long-term effects on your baby’s health.

It is actually more dangerous to delay vaccines than to give them. This is because the diseases that vaccines prevent are more severe than any side effects. Most of the time, young babies are exposed to these diseases from people around them every day, such as brothers, sisters, parents, and other family members and caregivers.

Isn’t this too many shots at one visit?

There is no evidence that getting more than one vaccine at the same time will harm your child. Newborn babies adapt to new substances every day—many more than are in the vaccines we recommend. The human immune system can recognize and respond to thousands of organisms in the body at the same time. This is true even for newborn babies.

Your choice to stick to the recommended vaccine schedule actually makes your child’s immune system stronger.

Can I separate the MMR vaccine into individual shots?

Separate MMR shots are not available in the United States. But that’s a good thing. When the MMR was given separately, there were gaps of time when children were still at risk for the serious diseases the MMR prevents: measles, mumps, and rubella.

Kaiser Permanente and other health care organizations use the combination MMR because it’s been proven safe—and because it protects against three diseases in only one shot. That’s less discomfort for your child.

Can I use an alternative schedule?

Research suggests that there is no benefit to delaying vaccines. In fact, it actually places your child at risk for getting a disease that vaccines could otherwise prevent.

There is flexibility within the recommended schedule. Review the schedule with your doctor to come up with a plan that you’re comfortable with. 

 


Learn more

From Kaiser Permanente

  • Health and Wellness resources: Common questions about immunizations

From Immunity Community