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Home > Living Well > Health Library > Your Child's First Vaccines: What You Need to Know
The vaccines included on this statement are likely to be given at the same time during infancy and early childhood. There are separate Vaccine Information Statements for other vaccines that are also routinely recommended for young children (measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, rotavirus, influenza, and hepatitis A).
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Vaccines can prevent disease. Childhood vaccination is essential because it helps provide immunity before children are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases.
Haemophilus influenzae type b can cause many different kinds of infections. These infections usually affect children under 5 years of age but can also affect adults with certain medical conditions. Hib bacteria can cause mild illness, such as ear infections or bronchitis, or they can cause severe illness, such as infections of the blood. Severe Hib infection, also called "invasive Hib disease," requires treatment in a hospital and can sometimes result in death.
Hepatitis B is a liver disease that can cause mild illness lasting a few weeks, or it can lead to a serious, lifelong illness. Acute hepatitis B infection is a short-term illness that can lead to fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, jaundice (yellow skin or eyes, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements), and pain in the muscles, joints, and stomach. Chronic hepatitis B infection is a long-term illness that occurs when the hepatitis B virus remains in a person's body. Most people who go on to develop chronic hepatitis B do not have symptoms, but it is still very serious and can lead to liver damage (cirrhosis), liver cancer, and death.
Polio (or poliomyelitis) is a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by poliovirus, which can infect a person's spinal cord, leading to paralysis. Most people infected with poliovirus have no symptoms, and many recover without complications. Some people will experience sore throat, fever, tiredness, nausea, headache, or stomach pain.
A smaller group of people will develop more serious symptoms: paresthesia (feeling of pins and needles in the legs), meningitis (infection of the covering of the spinal cord and/or brain), or paralysis (can't move parts of the body) or weakness in the arms, legs, or both. Paralysis can lead to permanent disability and death.
Pneumococcal disease refers to any illness caused by pneumococcal bacteria. These bacteria can cause many types of illnesses, including pneumonia, which is an infection of the lungs. Besides pneumonia, pneumococcal bacteria can also cause ear infections, sinus infections, meningitis (infection of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord), and bacteremia (infection of the blood). Most pneumococcal infections are mild. However, some can result in long-term problems, such as brain damage or hearing loss. Meningitis, bacteremia, and pneumonia caused by pneumococcal disease can be fatal.
Infants and children usually need:
Some children might need fewer or more than the usual number of doses of some vaccines to be fully protected because of their age at vaccination or other circumstances.
Older children, adolescents, and adults with certain health conditions or other risk factors might also be recommended to receive 1 or more doses of some of these vaccines.
These vaccines may be given as stand-alone vaccines, or as part of a combination vaccine (a type of vaccine that combines more than one vaccine together into one shot).
Tell your vaccination provider if the child getting the vaccine:
In some cases, your child's health care provider may decide to postpone vaccination until a future visit.
Children with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. Children who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before being vaccinated.
Your child's health care provider can give you more information.
As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction, other serious injury, or death.
An allergic reaction could occur after the vaccinated person leaves the clinic. If you see signs of a severe allergic reaction (hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, or weakness), call 9-1-1 and get the person to the nearest hospital.
For other signs that concern you, call your health care provider.
Adverse reactions should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Your health care provider will usually file this report, or you can do it yourself. Visit the VAERS website at www.vaers.hhs.gov or call 1-800-822-7967. VAERS is only for reporting reactions, and VAERS staff members do not give medical advice.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is a federal program that was created to compensate people who may have been injured by certain vaccines. Claims regarding alleged injury or death due to vaccination have a time limit for filing, which may be as short as two years. Visit the VICP website at www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation or call 1-800-338-2382 to learn about the program and about filing a claim.
Vaccine Information Statement
Multi Pediatric Vaccines
42 U.S.C. § 300aa-26
Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Many vaccine information statements are available in Spanish and other languages. See www.immunize.org/vis
Hojas de información sobre vacunas están disponibles en español y en muchos otros idiomas. Visite www.immunize.org/vis
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