Are the vaccines safe?

Yes. Vaccines for childhood diseases are very safe. Sometimes, a vaccine will cause mild side effects like a sore arm/leg or low fever. A bad side effect is not likely to happen. Childhood diseases are a greater health risk to children than the vaccines. Ask your healthcare provider to tell you about risks and side effects.

When should a child not be vaccinated?

In a few cases, it's better to wait to get a vaccine. Some children who are very sick should not get a vaccine at all. Reasons that you should wait or not get a vaccine may include:

  • Being sick with something more serious than a cold.
  • Having a bad reaction after the first dose of a vaccine.
  • Having a convulsion (sudden jerky body movements) that is thought to be caused by a vaccine.

If my child is over two years old, can she/he still be vaccinated?

Yes. Vaccines can be given to older children and adults. Children are vaccinated early in life so that they have less chance of getting sick. The types of vaccines may be different for older children. Talk to your healthcare provider about how you and your child can be vaccinated.

Should I get vaccinated if I plan to get pregnant?

If you don’t know if you have ever had German measles or if you were not vaccinated for German measles, talk to your health care provider about getting the vaccine. If a preg-nant woman gets German measles (rubella), her baby can be born with birth defects. You should not get the vaccine if you plan to get pregnant within the next month.

Why should I bother with vaccines?

Thanks to vaccines, childhood diseases are less common. But these diseases can still be caught and they can be deadly. Children still suffer from choking, brain damage, paralysis (being unable to move parts the body), heart problems, blindness, and other health problems because of childhood diseases.

In most states, children must be immunized against childhood diseases before they can enter school. It is very important to keep a record of your child's immunizations. This record is an important part of his or her health history.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/01/2018.

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