Understanding Infant Immunizations
May 30, 2020
In today’s social climate, the topic of infant immunizations can be somewhat controversial. Although some parents may have strong concerns about the safety of vaccines, all parents want the best for the health of their child. The best way to determine this is to be an informed consumer, talk to trusted healthcare professionals, and understand why medical experts recommend certain immunizations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that infants and young children stay up to date on vaccinations to provide immunity to potentially life-threatening diseases.1 Ensuring babies are appropriately immunized can also help control the spread of infectious disease within communities and help protect other vulnerable populations.1
Rigorous vaccine testing ensures their safety and overall effectiveness against some of the most dangerous diseases. Nevertheless, some parents feel concerned or even skeptical when it comes to choosing vaccinations. It’s understandable that parents want to know more about vaccines before allowing their child to receive them, especially when they may be hearing or reading conflicting information. To help expecting parents better understand the benefits and risks associated with infant immunizations, we’ve provided a quick breakdown of the the latest research:
- Most babies are born with pretty impressive immune systems that are capable of fighting off a great many pathogens, bacteria, and other invaders. However, there are some diseases that their systems aren’t able to handle. Vaccinating babies against those diseases may help strengthen their immune systems and protect them from some of the most dangerous conditions.1
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees extensive lab testing to make sure vaccines are safe and effective. This process may even take years before a vaccine is allowed on the market. After the vaccine passes the lab testing phase, clinical trials begin. It can take several more years of clinical trials before the vaccine is licensed and available to the public. Once it is made available, multiple agencies continue to monitor the vaccine’s use and investigate any potential safety risks.1
- An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The CDC states that it is always better to prevent a disease rather than treat it after it occurs. Diseases that are easily preventable with vaccines, such as measles and whooping cough, can lead to severe illness, pain, disability, or even death in babies and children.1
What is the Recommended Vaccine Schedule?
The CDC recommends that infants receive certain immunizations at specific times. The CDC’s infant and adolescent immunization schedule is available on the CDC website.
The recommended immunization schedule is broken down by age range. The CDC recommends that expecting mothers receive the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy to protect against whooping cough, plus a flu vaccine if they are pregnant during flu season.2 Beyond that, the CDC has a specific schedule laid out for immunizations based on the child’s age.2
If parents choose to delay or skip immunizations, it is their responsibility to inform the child’s medical professional, school, day care, or other organizations that the child is not vaccinated in accordance with CDC guidelines.2
Tips for Vaccinations
Giving a shot to a baby can be challenging. As they grow older and become more mobile, it can be even harder. Fortunately, there are specific techniques for holding children while they receive their immunizations.
Infants and toddlers who are getting a shot in the leg can sit on a parent’s lap while the parent puts one of the child’s arms under the parent’s armpit, using gentle pressure to secure them. This feels very much like a hug to the child and may be soothing, especially if they are feeling distressed. The parent can then use the other arm and hand to gently but securely hold the child’s other arm and anchor their feet firmly between the parent’s thighs.3
Vaccine Side Effects
The majority of side effects associated with vaccines are minor and may disappear shortly after inoculation.4 The most common side effects are soreness at the injection site, low-grade fever, and fussiness.4 Serious reactions to vaccines are rare but may occur. Specific risks and side effects can vary depending on the type of vaccine. Pediatricians can advise parents on the signs and symptoms to watch for and what to do in the event of a severe reaction. When in doubt, call the child’s healthcare provider or 911.
Prenate® Vitamin Family
This post is sponsored by Prenate® Vitamin Family, a line of prescription prenatal supplements dedicated to enhancing preconception, prenatal, and postpartum nutrition in women. Talk with your doctor about how taking a daily prescription prenatal or postnatal vitamin could help support a healthy pregnancy and postpartum wellness.