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Physicals and Immunizations

Ensuring your child is up to date on their immunizations is critical to protecting them against dangerous childhood diseases. Having a physical with immunizations is important to provide an overall assessment of your child’s health. According to the National Immunization Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here are 10 important things you need to know about immunizations for you child:

1. Why your child should be immunized

Children need immunizations (shots) to protect them from dangerous childhood diseases. These diseases can have serious complications and even kill children. More...

3. Number of doses your child needs

The following vaccinations are recommended by age two and can be given over five visits to a doctor or clinic:
  • 4 doses of diphtheria, tetanus & pertussis vaccine (DTaP)
  • 3-4 doses of Hib vaccine (depending on the brand used)
  • 4 doses of pneumococcal vaccine
  • 3 doses of polio vaccine
  • 2 doses of hepatitis A vaccine
  • 3 doses of hepatitis B vaccine
  • 1 dose of measles, mumps & rubella vaccine (MMR)
  • 2-3 doses of rotavirus vaccine (depending on the brand used)
  • 1 dose of varicella vaccine
  • 2-3 doses of influenza vaccine (6 months and older) (number of doses depends on child's birthday)
Recommended doses can also be viewed in chart form. And, concerns about multiple vaccines given in one visit are addressed.

4. Like any medicine, there may be minor side effects

Side effects can occur with any medicine, including vaccines. Depending on the vaccine, these can include: slight fever, rash, or soreness at the site of injection. Slight discomfort is normal and should not be a cause for alarm. Your health care provider can give you additional information. More...

5. It's extremely rare, but vaccines can cause serious reactions -- weigh the risks!

Serious reactions to vaccines are extremely rare. The risks of serious disease from not vaccinating are far greater than the risks of serious reaction to a vaccination. More...

6. What to do if your child has a serious reaction.

If you think your child is experiencing a persistent or severe reaction, call your doctor or get the child to a doctor right away. Write down what happened and the date and time it happened. Ask your doctor, nurse or health department to file a Vaccine Adverse Event Report form or go to VAERS web site to file this form yourself electronically.
More...

7. Why you should not wait to vaccinate

Children under 5 are especially susceptible to disease because their immune systems have not built up the necessary defenses to fight infection. By immunizing on time (by age 2), you can protect your child from disease and also protect others at school or daycare. More...

8. Be sure to track your shots via a health record

A vaccination health record helps you and your health care provider keep your child's vaccinations on schedule. If you move or change providers, having an accurate record might prevent your child from repeating vaccinations he or she has already had. A shot record should be started when your child receives his/her first vaccination and updated with each vaccination visit. More...

9. Some are eligible for free vaccinations

A federal program called Vaccines for Children provides free vaccines to eligible children, including those without health insurance coverage, all those who are enrolled in Medicaid, American Indians and Alaskan Natives and those whose health insurance dues does not cover vaccines and go to Federally Qualified Health Clinics or Rural Health Centers. More...

10. More information is available.

General immunization questions can be answered by
The CDC Contact Center at 1-800-CDC-INFO
(1-800-232-4636) English and Español

Questions about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases frequently asked by people calling the TTY Service Hotline at
1-888-232-6348 (TTY hotline)