Pediatric Associates of Richmond

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Vaccine FAQs

Your child’s health is our top priority.  We firmly believe that vaccinating children and young adults may be the single most important health-promoting intervention we perform as health care providers, and that you can perform as parents/caregivers.  The recommended vaccines and their schedule are the results of years and years of scientific study and data gathering on millions of children by thousands of our brightest scientists and physicians.

We know that there are many sources of information out there today, from friends and family to TV, the internet and social media.  Please know that we, as your child’s healthcare providers, firmly believe in the effectiveness of vaccines to prevent serious illness and to save lives.

We firmly believe in the safety of our vaccines.

We firmly believe that all children and young adults should receive all of their recommended vaccines according to the schedule published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

If you have questions about vaccinating your child we ask that you please come to us with your questions.  Listed below are some of the most frequently asked questions we are asked by parents.

Do vaccines hurt?

Any time a needle is inserted in the skin and/or muscle, discomfort is likely to be felt.  For most vaccines this discomfort lasts a day or less, though soreness could persist for another day or two.  Ways to minimize discomfort during and after vaccines include gentle massage and use of the muscle, acetaminophen or ibuprofen, distraction with fun activities and comfort by a loved one such as nursing an infant.  Because they may reduce the effectiveness of vaccines if given prior to administration, please refrain from giving acetaminophen or ibuprofen until after the vaccines have been administered, and remember that ibuprofen is not safe for infants until they are at least 6 months old.

What are the most common side effects of vaccines?

Most of the potential side effects are very minor.  Discomfort or swelling at the injection site is the most common side effect but most children tolerate this with minimal fussiness.  Fever is also a possible side effect but not all vaccines cause fever.  Additionally, those that can cause fever may not cause fever in your child.  For more information about potential side effects of vaccines ask your provider or refer to the Vaccine Information Sheets (VIS) of each vaccine, which can be found by clicking on the name of a vaccine on our Vaccine Schedule page.  If you are concerned about a possible side effect after your child has received a vaccine, please call us at (804) 282-4205.

What do I do if my child develops a fever after receiving a vaccine?

Fever is a part of the body’s natural response to infections, vaccinations or inflammation, and is a sign that the immune system is active.  Sometimes a fever can make a person feel tired, sluggish, fussy or just not himself.  If your child has a fever but is acting completely normal otherwise, you do not need to do anything; the fever should subside within a day or two.  If your child is unusually fussy or seems uncomfortable, in the presence or absence of fever, you may give an appropriate dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help them feel better.  It is not safe to give ibuprofen to infants under 6 months of age.  If you are not sure how much acetaminophen or ibuprofen to give your child, please call us at (804) 282-4205.

Does my child have to get so many vaccines in one visit?

While you may have heard or read about alternative vaccination schedules, we strongly believe that our recommended schedule provides your child with the best chance to avoid potentially life threatening illnesses.  Additionally, studies have shown that children’s perception of pain is no different if they receive one vaccine or multiple.  In light of this, spreading out the vaccines may actually create more pain experiences for your child.  Spreading out vaccines also puts your child at risk for developing vaccine-preventable diseases during that delay in administration.

Won’t getting so many vaccines in one visit overwhelm my child’s immune system?

No.  In fact, the number of germs and stimulants to our immune system we (infants and children included) encounter on a daily basis far exceed those created by one or multiple vaccines.  Vaccines make the immune system stronger not weaker or overwhelmed.

Is there a link between autism and vaccines?

No.  Scientific studies and reviews that have evaluated millions and millions of children continue to show no relationship between autism and vaccines.  The only published study to ever show a relationship between vaccines and autism has been permanently retracted by the journal that published it because the author misrepresented or altered all the patients’ medical histories, which were the basis for the relationship he found.  Additionally, that doctor was permanently stripped of his medical license.