Topics

There are many different topics and common questions that come up when discussing vaccines. Always feel free to discuss any vaccine questions or concerns you have with your health care provider.

Vaccine Safety and Concerns

Vaccine safety is a top priority among parents and health care providers. Many parents have questions about vaccines, like how many shots are too many, what ingredients are found in vaccines, are vaccines related to other health issues, and so on. Read about the strong safety record of vaccines on AIM’s vaccine safety webpage.

A few common concerns are also discussed below. Watch videos from leading experts in the field of immunization on common vaccine questions.

What are the side effects or risks of vaccines?

Like any medication, vaccines can cause side effects. The most common side effects are mild, such as redness and swelling where the shot was given. These side effects often go away within a few days. If your child experiences a reaction at the injection site, you can use a cool, wet cloth to reduce redness, soreness, and swelling. Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare and doctors and clinic staff are trained to deal with them. Vaccine-preventable diseases, on the other hand, can be very serious or even deadly. The benefits of getting vaccinated far outweigh any risks.

How many shots are too many?

Today’s immunization schedule gives us the opportunity to protect children against 14 different diseases! Even though the ability to protect against this many diseases is incredible, many parents have questions about the number of shots their child may receive by the time they reach toddlerhood. Compared to the challenges that infants’ immune systems handle every day, the challenges from the components in vaccines is very small. And, even though children receive more vaccines now than ever before, most people would probably be surprised to learn that the number of immunological components in vaccines has dramatically decreased. Read more from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia about the number of shots your child can safely receive and watch a video featuring two providers discussing this topic.

Who makes vaccine recommendations?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sets the U.S. immunization schedules based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Before recommending a vaccine the ACIP considers many factors, including the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. The ACIP develops vaccine recommendations for children, adolescents, and adults. The recommendations include the age(s) when the vaccine should be given, the number of doses needed, the amount of time between doses, and safety measures that should be taken when administering vaccines.

How do vaccines prevent diseases?

Vaccines reduce the risk of infection by working with the body's natural defenses to help it safely develop immunity to disease. Learn more about how vaccines work.

How are vaccines made?

The goal of all vaccines is to weaken the virus or bacteria in a way that allows the recipient to develop an immune response without developing any symptoms of infection. Vaccines are made using the same components that are found in the natural virus or bacteria. Read about the different strategies used to make vaccines.

Where can I find reliable vaccine information?

Finding credible vaccine information can be hard in today’s world. Many people have their own viewpoints on vaccines and they are eager to share those opinions via websites, blogs, and social media, like Facebook. However, the best source of immunization information is your health care provider. Always be sure to bring up any questions or concerns you have at your child’s visit. Just as there are many untrustworthy sources of vaccine information online, there are also many reliable sources. Check out what others are saying about vaccines at AIM’s social media page. Talk to other parents who chose to vaccinate their children (and themselves) against serious diseases and why they made the decision to do so. Utilize the mobile app from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to find up-to-date vaccine information, right from your Smartphone. Visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines for reliable, science-based vaccine information, and check out CDC Immunization Resources for You and Your Patients.