Common Vaccine Questions & Answers

April 20, 2012

Did you know that this week is National Infant Immunization Week?

Vaccinating your child can be a very stressful experience. As a parent, you naturally want the best for your child, and there are lots of questions surrounding vaccines.  You may wonder: are vaccines safe? Why are there so many?  Why do you start when my baby is so young? Do they have to be done all at once?

This week highlights the importance of vaccines in protecting your child and the community as a whole. Vaccine-preventable diseases still circulate around the world, and even here in the United States (as seen this year in the mini-outbreak of the measles after the Super Bowl). Between your family trips and other activities that may expose your child to foreign travelers, chances are her or she will be exposed to a large number of diseases by adulthood.

If you choose to vaccinate your child, by the age of 2 years he or she will be protected against 14 serious diseases!  Thanks to vaccines, many of us will never have to see anyone suffer with paralysis from polio, or develop liver cancer from Hepatitis B, or die from complications of the chickenpox.

Below are answers to some of the common vaccine-related questions we hear:

Are vaccines safe?

Yes, vaccines are safe. They are thoroughly studied, reviewed and tested before being given to your child. There are systems to monitor for side effects and report reactions. Common reactions can include low-grade fever, fussiness, or a tender spot at the site where the vaccine was given — but serious reactions are very rare. For example, less than 1 in a million doses of DTaP result in allergic reaction. And no scientific studies have shown any links between vaccines and autism (and this includes both the disease component of the vaccine and the preservative — for example thimerosal, which contains trace amounts of mercury).

Why are there so many?

Many vaccines need more than one dose to build up your child’s immune system so that he or she will be able to successfully fight off the disease if or when it’s ever encountered. The response to some of the vaccines wanes with time and “booster” doses are given to remind your immune system how to fight that particular disease, for example tetanus.

Why do you start when my baby is so young?

From birth, your child is susceptible to diseases in the community. Your baby has some protection from mom’s immune system for the first few months (but only to those diseases that mom is immune to) and also receives a boost in immunity from breastfeeding. But as the natural immunity from pregnancy and breastfeeding wanes, your baby needs to be protected — and this is the time when he or she is most vulnerable to infection with diseases in the environment.

Do they have to be done all at once?

Many parents express concern that too many vaccines are going to overwhelm their baby’s immune system. Each vaccine contains a little part of the disease it is protecting against, and your baby will mount a response to it with his or her immune system. Think of all the toys, shoes, dirt, books, food, etc., that your children put in their mouths all day long — they are mounting a response to germs on those too!

More Rea$ons to Vaccinate!

Immunizations also save time and money!  Many young children need to be hospitalized for dehydration with rotavirus, a vomiting and diarrheal illness that can be prevented with a vaccine, or they need to miss school for the chickenpox and/or influenza — which also causes many parents to be unable to work.


The bottom line is this: Your main concern is keeping your child healthy, and that is your pediatrician’s goal too. Talk to your pediatrician about vaccinations, and schedule an appointment to make sure everything’s up-to-date!

Dr. Lloyd is moving!

On May 21st, 2018, she joined Portland Pediatrics! Her new office is located at:
Portland Pediatrics- Webster Office
(behind the Holt Road Wegmans)
1110 Crosspointe Lane, Suite D
Webster, NY 14580
Phone: 585.872.3390

New Families

We are accepting new patients! Please call to schedule a "meet and greet" visit to look around the office and ask any questions you have.

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