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Stay on track with your child's immunizations

GEHA | July 18, 2022

Make sure your child is current on their vaccinations before the school year starts.

It's almost back-to-school time. One of the most important things you can do before school starts is make sure your child's immunizations are up to date. They are an important part of health from birth to adulthood.

Vaccinations help protect your child from diseases that could cause serious health problems. They also protect the health of classmates, friends, relatives and others in the community.

How vaccines work
Vaccines strengthen your child's immune system. They use very small amounts of antigens to help your child's immune system recognize and learn to fight serious disease. Because immunizations mimic diseases (in very small doses) there are occasional side effects of soreness or redness around the injection site or a low-grade fever. Side effects usually disappear in a few days.

Common vaccine ingredients
It is understandable to want to know what is in the vaccine your child will be given. Here are some common ingredients in vaccines:

  • Adjuvants. Adjuvants help boost the body's response to a vaccination. They are also found in antacids, buffered aspirin and antiperspirants.
  • Stabilizers. Stabilizers help keep a vaccine effective after it is manufactured. They are also found in some foods and reside in the body naturally.
  • Formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is used to prevent contamination by bacteria and other toxins during the vaccine manufacturing process. It is found in the environment, preservatives and household products. It also resides in the body naturally.
  • Antigens. Antigens are very small amounts of weak or dead germs that can cause diseases. The flu virus is an example of an antigen.

Common vaccine concerns
You may have some concerns about vaccinating your child, such as if vaccines are safe or if they have side effects.

It is extremely safe to vaccinate your child. Vaccines are only distributed after lengthy, conscientious reviews by researchers, physicians and other health care professionals. Vaccines are only administered after they have been proven safe and effective. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continue to track vaccines to make sure they're safe.

Vaccines do not cause autism. Autism is a brain disorder that can cause social, communication and behavioral issues. Some people have worried that autism could be linked to childhood vaccines. Many studies have shown that vaccines don't cause autism.

Get your child vaccinated
It is always better to prevent a disease than to treat it after it occurs. Remember:

  • Vaccinations are a highly effective, safe and easy way to help keep your child safe.
  • The timing of vaccination is based on how your child's immune system responds to vaccines at various ages and how likely your child may be exposed to disease.
  • Vaccinations protect others you care about.
  • Vaccines are tested to ensure they are safe and effective for children to receive at the recommended ages.
  • Vaccinations protect future generations.

For more information
Check out this chart of the recommended vaccination timeline for birth to age six. If you have additional concerns about your older child's recommended vaccination timeline, check out the resources below.

“Making the Vaccine Decision: Addressing Common Concerns.”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 April 2022
“Get Your Child’s Vaccines on Schedule.”, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 10 May 2022
“Vaccine Ingredients.”, Department of Health and Human Services, 29 April 2021
“Five Important Reasons to Vaccinate Your Child.”, Department of Health and Human Services, 6 May 2022

Disclaimer: This information contained herein is for informational and educational purposes only. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice and if you have questions regarding a medical condition, regimen, or treatment you should always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice from a qualified medical professional because of information you have read herein.