Category: Vaccine Education

Making the Right Choice About Vaccines

Most parents vaccinate their kids.

For them, it is an easy choice. They know that vaccines work, that vaccines are safe, and that vaccines are necessary.

Making the Right Choice About Vaccines

Some folks aren’t so sure though. They may either be against vaccines or might still be on the fence, not knowing for sure what to do.

“When my third child was born, I had more questions than answers and a huge reluctance to choose immunizations without certainty that the benefits outweigh the risks.”

Suzanne Walther on A Parent’s Decision on Immunization: Making the Right Choice

Mark Zuckerberg posted a photo when he took his daughter to their pediatrician for vaccines.
Mark Zuckerberg posted a photo when he took his daughter to their pediatrician for her vaccines.

Parents can be confident that all of the evidence points to the facts that:

  1. Vaccines are effective at preventing disease. Vaccines work.
  2. Our kids do not get too many vaccines and do not get them at too early an age. The current immunization schedule helps protect young children from life-threatening diseases. Vaccines are necessary.
  3. Vaccines are safe and are extensively tested before they are approved.
  4. After they are approved, there are ongoing clinical trials and safety systems in place to rule out the possibility that vaccines could cause diseases later in life.
  5. Claims of adverse reactions are well investigated and easily disproved. Vaccines are not associated with SIDS, ADHD, eczema, autism, peanut allergies, or any other so-called vaccine induced diseases.
  6. There are plenty of places to go to get truthful, clear answers to questions about vaccines.
  7. Everything you hear that scares you about vaccines is likely not true, especially things about toxins, shedding, herd immunity, and package inserts, etc.

With all of the anti-vaccine information that is regularly posted on Facebook and anti-vaccine books listed on Amazon, it is no surprise that some parents would be scared though.

“I have discovered along the way that it is easy for parents to be misinformed. It is a real challenge to be well informed.”

Suzanne Walther on A Parent’s Decision on Immunization: Making the Right Choice

Make the effort to be well informed about vaccines.

More on Making the Right Choice About Vaccines

How to Breastfeed Your Child During Vaccinations

Can you breastfeed while your child is getting their vaccines?

Sure.

How to Breastfeed Your Child During Vaccinations

While the smallpox vaccine and yellow fever vaccine are contraindicated for moms who are breastfeeding, there are no contraindications on vaccinating kids while they are breastfeeding.

Why breastfeed while your kids are getting their vaccines?

While some moms just breastfeed immediately afterwards,  others understand that breastfeeding at the same time as the shots are being given can help decrease any pain associated with getting those vaccines even more.

“If you are breastfeeding, feed your baby before, during and after immunization. The physical closeness and familiar taste of breast milk will calm your baby. Breastfeeding during immunization is safe for babies, even newborns. There is no evidence that babies will choke or associate their mothers with pain.”

Tips For Parents For A Positive Immunization Experience

Will it make it harder for health professionals to hold your child while the shots are being given? Not usually, especially if you help hold your child.

But how can infants get the oral Rotavirus vaccine if they are breastfeeding?

In general, infants should get the least painful vaccine first. And oral vaccines are typically given before shots. So they can get their Rotavirus vaccine before you begin breastfeeding and get prepared for the rest of their vaccines.

The Be Sweet to Babies videos can help you see the benefits of breastfeeding while your kids get their vaccines.
The Be Sweet to Babies videos can help you see the benefits of breastfeeding while your kids get their vaccines.

And while it might depend on the age and size of your child, in general, to breastfeed your child while they are getting their vaccinations, once everything is prepared and ready, you should:

  • hold your child on your lap, understanding that until age three years, most shots will be given in your child’s thighs, although toddlers can sometimes get them in their arms
  • once you have your child well positioned, have a good latch and have started nursing, make sure your child’s arm or leg remains exposed (wherever the shot will be going) and help hold your child securely so that they don’t move while getting their vaccines. For example, you might hold an arm or leg with your free hand and anchor their legs between your thighs or your other hand if possible
  • continue nursing after your child has gotten their vaccines, keeping in mind that you may have to switch positions if they are getting multiple shots

Also understand that it might not always be a good idea to nurse while getting vaccines. Is your baby a distracted eater? Is it going to be hard to hold your child while they are nursing and getting their shots? Does your health care provider not have experience giving vaccines to a child while they are breastfeeding? Does your health care provider have a lot of experience giving vaccines, and they think that giving them while you are nursing will just make the whole process take a lot longer?

“Breastfeeding moms may wish to breastfeed baby during vaccination or immediately after to lessen pain and stress.”

AAP on How can I comfort my baby during vaccinations?

In general though, especially as it is recommended by the WHO and the AAP, consider breastfeeding your child while they are getting their vaccines.

More On Breastfeeding Your Child During Vaccinations

Anti-Vaccine Points Refuted A Thousand Times

Every anti-vaccine argument is essentially a PRATT, a point refuted a thousand times.

“My statement I like to make on vaccines and autism, is that vaccines don’t cause autism, except when they do.”

Bob Sears

How many times has the idea that vaccines are associated with autism been refuted? More than a thousand times. We’ll still call it a PRATT though…

Want another example?

Johns Hopkins Medicine, which includes the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System went out of their way to correct this anti-vaccine misinformation.

Johns Hopkins Medicine, which includes the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System went out of their way to correct this anti-vaccine argument.

Correcting an anti-vaccine PRATT doesn't mean that they will stop using it.
Correcting an anti-vaccine PRATT doesn’t mean that they will stop using it.

Not surprisingly, anti-vax folks continued to bring it up.

Anti-Vaccine Points Refuted A Thousand Times

What are some other anti-vaccine points that have been refuted a thousand times?

There are probably a thousand of them, but I’ll just include some of the most common ones:

 

Anti-Vaccine Lies Vaccine Truths
Since your kids are vaccinated, it shouldn’t matter that I don’t vaccinate mine. One last time – some kids are at risk because they are too young to be vaccinated, have a true medical contraindication to getting vaccinated, or perhaps their vaccine didn’t work, and so your unvaccinated kid can put them at risk.
Herd immunity is a myth. Anti-vaccine folks simply do not understand herd immunity.
Doctors don’t learn anything about vaccines in medical school. Most doctors learn a lot about vaccines in school, but it is easy to see that some doctors don’t learn anything about vaccines in medical school – they are the ones who create their own immunization schedules and warn parents that vaccines are dangerous.
Vaccines didn’t save us – it was improved living conditions, better nutrition, indoor plumbing, and sanitation. If this were true, then how come these factors didn’t also stop RSV, norovirus, HIV, and other non-vaccine-preventable diseases?
Vaccine free kids are healthier than those who get vaccines. They aren’t. They just get more vaccine-preventable diseases. Did you know that there are unvaccinated kids with autism?
Vaccine ingredients are toxic. The ingredients in vaccines are not toxic. Remember, the wise words of Paracelsus, the father of toxicology, “Solely the dose determines that a thing is not a poison”
Vaccines aren’t tested. Vaccines are well tested before being approved and continue to be tested for safety and efficacy after we begin using them. They are even tested together.
Vaccine makers have immunity from any liability. If vaccine manufacturers are free of any liability, then why is there a vaccine lawsuit against Merck about the mumps vaccine? Vaccine manufacturers have liability for their vaccines and can still be sued by parents, although they do typically have to go through Vaccine Court first.
SIDS was made up to cover up for vaccine deaths. Except that infants died of SIDS before we had vaccines.
The anti-vaccine movement is based on science. The anti-vaccine movement is based on fear, conspiracy theories, and pseudoscience.
If a wound bleeds, you don’t need a tetanus shot. Whether or not a wound bleeds, you may need a tetanus shot and tetanus immune immunoglobulin if it has been more than five years since your last vaccine.
Shedding from vaccinated kids start most outbreaks. Few vaccines shed and even those that do are rarely the cause of outbreaks, which can typically be traced to an unvaccinated children or adult.
Kids get too many vaccines and it can overwhelm their immune system. Infants do have an immature immune system, which is one reason why they need protection from vaccines, but it is mature enough to respond to those vaccines as maternal protection quickly fades.
“DTP scream” is caused by encephalitis. Prolonged crying after getting a DTP or DTaP vaccine is a painful local reaction and is not caused by encephalitis.
Package inserts prove that vaccines cause SIDS, autism, and meningitis. Folks who use the package insert argument just don’t understand how package inserts are written.
Kids are still getting exposed to just as mercury in vaccines as ever. Since most flu vaccines are now thimerosal free, few if any kids are exposed to thimerosal in vaccines.
Aluminum in vaccines is toxic. Aluminum in vaccines is not toxic.
Vaccines contain aborted fetal tissue. Some vaccines are made with descendant cells from two electively terminated pregnancies (abortions) in the 1960s, so those vaccines have a distant association with abortion, but there is no fetal tissue or aborted baby parts in any vaccine.
No one believed Ignaz Semmelweis and he was later proven to be right. Yes, but just because we think you are wrong, that doesn’t make you Semmelweis. It is more likely that you are just wrong.
Andrew Wakefield is not a fraud. Uh, yeah he is.
Vaccines aren’t safe and cause cancer because the package insert says that they aren’t evaluated for mutagenicity, carcinogenicity and impairment of fertility. The section of the package insert that talks about mutagenicity, carcinogenicity and impairment of fertility is talking about long term studies. All vaccines have preclinical toxicology studies to see if those long term studies need to be done. Typically they are not, so aren’t evaluated because it isn’t necessary to do so, not because this testing was just skipped.
Higher infant mortality rates in the United States prove that vaccines aren’t safe. Infant mortality rates have nothing to do with vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases. And they have been decreasing to ever lower levels.
Vaccine side effects are underreported to VAERS. While that is likely true, they aren’t underreported by as much as folks think, and serious side effects are likely reported much more commonly.
Pediatricians get vaccine bonuses. Pediatricians don’t routinely get vaccine bonuses. And they certainly don’t get millions of dollars in bonus money.
Infants get too high a dose of vaccines, because they get the same dose as adults. Vaccines are not typically calibrated by age or weight, because they work locally, stimulating an immune response where they are given, unlike antibiotics and other medicines that have travel throughout your whole body.
Kids are all different, so we shouldn’t use a one-size-fits-all immunization schedule. The immunization schedule has a lot of flexibility built into it, and with its list of precautions and contraindications, it it clearly not one-size-fits-all.
Andrew Wakefield was right. Andrew Wakefield has never been proven to be right. If anything, more and more studies show that he was wrong.
I have a religious exemption to getting my kids vaccinated. Which religion do you belong to? Most religions support getting kids vaccinated and protected. In fact, some consider it immoral to skip your child’s vaccines and leave them unprotected.
The Leicester Method proves that good sanitation and quarantines – not the smallpox vaccine – eradicated smallpox. While this is a nice theory, a booklet written by the medical officer from the time clearly shows that The Leicester Method included the use of the smallpox vaccine.
Vaccines aren’t safe because they are unavoidably unsafe. The term “unavoidably unsafe” relates to liability and doesn’t mean that vaccines are dangerous.
Polio was caused by DDT. There is no connection between DDT and polio.
Vaccine-preventable diseases are easily treated. They are easily treated in the sense that most don’t have any treatments, so there is not much to do, but not that you can provide treatment and make these folks better.
There are 300 new vaccines in the pipeline. Unfortunately, very few new vaccines are being developed for infectious diseases in children, at least not any vaccines that will be available any time soon.
Breastfeeding is better than vaccines at preventing infections. While breastfeeding has many benefits, it will not protect your kids from most vaccine-preventable diseases.
Ingredients in vaccines are toxic because they are injected directly into a child’s bloodstream and aren’t ingested and filtered by the body’s natural defenses. Vaccine ingredients are not toxic.
The media should give equal time to doctors and parents who are against vaccines. The media has gotten better at avoiding that type of false balance.
Vaccines don’t cover outbreak strains that cause measles and pertussis outbreaks. DTaP and measles vaccines cover all wild strains of pertussis and measles.
Kids get sick from vaccines in hot lots. Reports of hot lots come from misuse of VAERS reports. There are no true hot lots of vaccines.
People never regret not vaccinating their kids. Many parents do regret not vaccinating their kids when they get sick and catch a vaccine-preventable disease.
You have to quarantine your kids after they are vaccinated because of shedding. If you can get vaccines if you are a household contact of someone with compromised immunity, do you really need to worry about your neighbor vaccinating their kids during back-to-school “shedding season?”
Everything is a vaccine injury. While vaccines have some risks, most of what anti-vaccine folks thinks of as vaccine-induced diseases are not caused by vaccines.
The Brady Bunch measles episode proves that folks were never worried about measles. If Mr. and Mrs. Brady weren’t worried when all six Brady Bunch kids got measles at the same time, then why did they each call a pediatrician and have them come to the house to check all of the kids?
Polio disappeared because we changed the diagnostic criteria. Vaccines helped eliminate polio in the United States and is helping us get close to the final goal of eradication.
Vaccines cause Autoimmune/Inflammatory Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants. Most experts consider ASIA a made up syndrome.
Natural immunity is better than immunity from a vaccine. While natural immunity is great, it often comes at a price. You have to survive the disease and its complications. Most folks prefer a safer route – getting vaccinated.
Graphs prove that vaccines don’t work. Graphs are misused by folks as propaganda to make them think that vaccines don’t work. #VaccinesWork
Ex-vaxxers never change their mind. Reasonable people change their minds when presented with evidence. Many anti-vaccine parents change their minds and begin vaccinating their kids again.
Homeopathic vaccines are just as good as vaccines. Homeopathic vaccines, which are diluted to nothing, with just a memory of the original ingredient, don’t work.
Vaccines made in China are used in the United States. While vaccines are made in China, they are used in China and in some other countries – not in the United States.
Vaccine strain measles causes outbreaks. In every measles outbreak, there is always someone who asks – is it the vaccine strain? It never is…
Vaccine-preventable diseases are mild. Vaccine-preventable diseases often cause life-threatening infections with serious complications.
We are only afraid of diseases once they make a vaccine for it. If this were true, then why are parents so afraid of RSV? And why was there so much panic about Ebola? And why were folks put into Leper colonies?
Kids get 72 doses of vaccines. The idea of 72 doses is an inflated number that is meant to scare parents.
Vaccines aren’t necessary anymore. Know why you don’t hear about a lot of kids getting tetanus, rabies and other vaccine-preventable diseases anymore? Because most folks get vaccinated and protected. What happens when you don’t? Vaccines are necessary.
Vaccine deaths are common. Vaccine deaths are rare. They only seem common when folks misuse VAERS reports.
Folks who choose to skip or delay vaccines are smarter than everyone else. Parents who choose to skip or delay their child’s vaccines are not making smart decisions about vaccines.
Vaccines don’t prevent the spread of disease. Almost all vaccines do prevent the spread of disease.
Andrew Wakefield never said anything about autism. Except he did, at the press conference for his 1998 Lancet study, which was later retracted.
The US Government lost a landmark lawsuit that proves they haven’t done any safety studies on vaccines in over 30 years. While a settled lawsuit showed that they may have not filed the necessary reports, all safety studies and other things necessary to ensure that vaccines are safe have been done over the past 30 years.
Tetanus only lives in farm animal manure. Every anti-vaccine person thinks that they are an expert on tetanus. Are you going to bet your child’s life that they are right? Don’t. They are typically wrong… Tetanus spores can be found in dust, soil, feces, and in the mouths of some animals.
Hand,Foot and Mouth Disease is vaccine-induced and is caused by shedding from the polio vaccine. The study anti-vaccine folks used to come up with this theory actually said that the polio vaccine might be protective against hand, foot, and mouth disease.
You should detox after vaccines. You don’t need to detox after getting vaccines, but even if you did, the stuff folks tell you to do is a waste of time and money and is sometimes dangerous.
Alternative vaccine schedules are safe. Alternative vaccine schedules are made up and have no evidence that they are safe or effective? How could they be dangerous? Your child might get a vaccine-preventable disease on your delayed schedule
You shouldn’t vaccinate your kids if they have signs of a MTHFR mutation. The so-called MTHFR signs you read about are made up and are certainly not a reason to skip or delay your child’s vaccines.
Vaccines contain heavy metals. Vaccines do not contain any heavy metals. The closest that you might find would be a flu vaccine with thimerosal, as mercury is indeed a heavy metal and thimerosal breaks down to ethylmercury. But then, the great majority of flu vaccines are now thimerosal-free.
Aluminum replaced thimerosal in vaccines. Aluminum is an adjuvant, while thimerosal was a preservative. Aluminum didn’t replace thimerosal in vaccines, although anti-vaccine folks did go out of their way to make aluminum the new thing for parents to worry about.
Amish people don’t get autism. There are autistic Amish, and no, it’s not because they vaccinate.
The CDC is hiding data on vaccines, mercury, and autism. This is just another conspiracy theory.
I’m not anti-vaccine, I’m pro-safe vaccine. You can call yourself pro-safe vaccine or whatever else you want, but if you push anti-vaccine myths and propaganda, then you are anti-vaccine.
We are more careful about introducing baby food to kids than giving them vaccines. Wait. This is really an argument now? Baby food?
Vaccine Court has compensated over 70 families for autism. They have not.
You can’t get rabies from dog or cat bites anymore. You are unlikely to get rabies from a dog or cat these days in the United States, but only because most folks vaccinate their pets and people get rabies treatments if they are possibly exposed to an animal with rabies.
Pediatricians are just vaccine pushers. Then why don’t pediatricians push all available vaccines to everyone, like the adenovirus vaccine, BCG vaccine, Pneumovax, typhoid vaccine, and yellow fever vaccine, etc., instead of only using them in high risk situations?
The CDC owns vaccine patents and sells billions of dollars in vaccines each year. While the CDC does own some vaccine patents, they don’t sell vaccines.
Sweden banned mandatory vaccination Sweden has never had mandatory vaccination, so there was nothing to ban.
Utah banned the HPV vaccine. One local health department in Utah has decided to not offer the HPV vaccine, but it isn’t banned. You just have to get it at private clinics.
It’s dangerous to give kids Tylenol after they have had a vaccine. While there is some concern that giving Tylenol before your child’s vaccines might decrease the immune response, it isn’t dangerous.
There are hidden ingredients in vaccines. There are no hidden ingredients in vaccines.
More people are dying of viral hepatitis since the hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccines were introduced. Nope. More people are dying of hepatitis C, but that isn’t vaccine preventable yet.
Anti-vaccine experts know a lot about autism. Anti-vaccine folks don’t seem to know anything about autism, except how to hurt autistic families.
The latest autism prevalence reports prove that there is an autism epidemic and that it is caused by vaccines. The latest report on autism prevalence from the CDC shows a rate that has increased to 1 in 59 children. And as county level trends in vaccination coverage show no correlation to those autism prevalence rates, folks will hopefully stop trying to associate vaccines with autism.
Vaccine mandates take away a parents choice to vaccinate their kids. Vaccine mandates don’t force anyone to get vaccinated. Some parents just don’t like their vaccine choices though.
Everyone should have died at the 1980 vaccination rates. This is  a silly argument. Vaccine-preventable diseases don’t kill everyone who gets them. Many children did die of what are now vaccine-preventable diseases in the 1980s though.
Vaccines cause cancer. Not only do vaccines not cause cancer, several vaccines can prevent you from getting cancer.
The unvaccinated can’t spread diseases they don’t have. While that is true, if they are unvaccinated, they are at increased to get these diseases and they can then spread them.
Peanut oil adjuvants in vaccines have caused a peanut allergy epidemic. No vaccines contain peanut oil adjuvants.
If there is a RISK, there must be a CHOICE. Parents nearly always have a choice on whether or not to vaccinate their kids, even if they live in a state without non-medical exceptions. Folks who get exposed to unvaccinated kids who get a vaccinate preventable disease don’t have that same vaccine choice though.
No one has died of measles in the United States in 15 years. Except for the women who died in 2015. She was exposed to an outbreak in Clallam County, Washington, which included four unvaccinated children and adults.
Vaccine injury denialism is a big problem. Vaccine injury denialism isn’t the problem, it is that some folks think that everything is a vaccine injury, from eczema and peanut allergies to multiple sclerosis and every sudden unexplained death.
Shaken baby syndrome is a vaccine injury. Although the NVIC offers advice to parents who have been accused of shaken baby syndrome, it should be clear that vaccines do not cause shaken baby syndrome.
Most adults aren’t vaccinated, so there can’t be any herd immunity. If you understand herd immunity, then you understand why this anti-vaccine argument is so silly.
Doctors have been wrong before. But when they are, doctors kept working on these issues, came up with new ways to think about them, confirmed them using the scientific method, and put things right. This is unlike when anti-vax folks are wrong.
Vaccines are made with antifreeze. There is no antifreeze in any vaccine.
Measles and other diseases are spread by undocumented immigrants and refugees. Nope. It isn’t immigrants and refugees, but instead our own citizens who aren’t vaccinated and who travel out of the country, getting exposed, and bringing back vaccine-preventable diseases and sometimes starting big outbreaks.
We didn’t have any of these vaccines when we were kids and we ended up fine. This argument is called survivorship bias. Those who died of a vaccine-preventable disease aren’t around to post about vaccines on Facebook or Twitter.
The flu vaccine can give you the flu. The flu shot is inactivated, so can’t give you the flu. Even the live flu vaccine, FluMist, is attenuated and cold-adapted, so won’t give you the flu.
You can always vaccinate, but can never unvaccinate your kids. You can’t vaccinate your child if they have already gotten a vaccine preventable disease. It is sometimes too late.
Bill Gates wants to depopulate the world with vaccines. This is a silly conspiracy theory.
The vitamin K shot is dangerous. Vitamin K is not a vaccine, but it is only dangerous to skip it, as we have seen with the increase in brain bleeds in newborns and infants who’s parents listen to bad advice about vitamin K and vaccines.
Vaccines have never been studied on pregnant women. Except that the Vaccine Safety Datalink has published 14 studies “related to pregnancy and vaccination during pregnancy” and is “also able to use data to study the health of children born to women who were vaccinated during pregnancy.”
Encephalitis is autism. Crying after getting vaccines is not encephalitis and encephalitis is not autism, although some anti-vaccine folks try to make this jump in logic (?) to convince themselves that vaccines are associated with autism.
Vegans don’t vaccinate their kids. Many vegans vaccinate their kids.
If you drop a vaccine vial and it breaks, you have to call in a HAZMAT team to clean it up. This isn’t true.
Vaccines are not Halal or Kosher. As a general rule, neither Muslims nor Jews are against vaccines.
Vaccine Court has paid out almost $4 billion. Yes, almost $4 billion since 1988 (30 years), during which time over 286 million doses of vaccines were given each year.
Other countries don’t give as many vaccines as the US. Many countries have very similar immunization schedules as the United States. Some even give more dosages of vaccines at an earlier age than we do.
Parents can skip the hepatitis B shot because babies don’t use drugs or have sex. Since babies can get hepatitis B from their mothers, the most effective strategy to prevent these infections is to vaccinate all newborns. And keep in mind that some older children and adults have gotten infected without risk factors. Since the vaccine is safe and effective, there is no good reason to skip it.
Doctors don’t provide informed consent about vaccines. In addition to the fact that health care providers do indeed provide informed consent, anti-vaccine folks don’t, as they overstate the side effects and risks of vaccines, minimize the risks of vaccine-preventable diseases, and make you think that vaccines don’t work.
There are no such things as coincidences. There are. Correlation does not imply causation.
Glyphosate, including the glyphosate that they think is in vaccines, will make half of all children autistic by 2025. Only seven more years to go…
There are ZERO double blind vaccine studies based on an inert placebo. Except for the these..
Johnny Gruelle developed the Raggedy Ann doll after his daughter died of a smallpox vaccine injury. Johnny Gruelle’s daughter played with the Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls he created. She tragically did die later of a probable reaction to a smallpox vaccine.
There are almost no studies that compare vaccinated versus unvaccinated kids. Except for the one that showed unvaccinated kids weren’t any healthier than vaccinated kids and that they just got more vaccine-preventable diseases.
In the time that the number of vaccines have grown from 2 to over 50 in the childhood schedule, that the rates of chronic illness has grown to over 50%. Kids today are actually a very healthy generation, being born with the lowest child and infant mortality rates ever, low rates of hospitalizations, and one of the highest life expectancies in history.
Anecdotes are evidence. While technically anecdotes are a type of evidence, they are among the weakest forms of evidence. That’s why most people don’t put a lot of faith in vaccine injury stories.
China is still having measles outbreaks, even though 99% of folks there are vaccinated. Nope. China is not having big measles outbreaks among highly vaccinated people.
Simpsonwood Simpsonwood? Really?

Have you seen any other anti-vaccine talking points that need refuting?

More on Anti-Vaccine Points Refuted A Thousand Times

Vaccine Signs You Might See at Your Pediatricians Office

Does your pediatrician have any signs or posters up on the doors or walls?

If they do, it is probably just a sign alerting you that flu vaccines are available or a reminder to cover their cough when they are sick.

Or maybe they have some educational posters up to educate parents about the overuse of antibiotics, how to wash your hands, or when to call poison control.

Vaccine Signs You Might See at Your Pediatricians Office

Some pediatricians also have signs and posters about vaccines and vaccine preventable diseases:

Do your kids get a lollipop after their vaccines, or just protection against life-threatening diseases?
Do your kids get a lollipop after their vaccines, or just protection against life-threatening diseases?
Thank vaccines and herd immunity.
Thank vaccines and herd immunity.
Skipping some vaccines? Are you going to say sorry if your kids get a vaccine-preventable disease?
Skipping some vaccines? Are you going to say sorry if your kids get a vaccine-preventable disease?
Does your pediatrician have separate waiting rooms for unvaccinated kids?
Does your pediatrician have separate waiting rooms for unvaccinated kids?
There is no benefit, just extra risks, if you delay your child's vaccines.
There is no benefit, just extra risks, if you delay your child’s vaccines.
Vaccine preventable diseases are just a plane ride away.
Vaccine preventable diseases are just a plane ride away. Get vaccinated before you travel.
Parents of Earth, are your children fully immunized?
Long ago, everyone vaccinated their kids.
Unvaccinated children exposed to measles are quarantined for at least 21 days.
Hopefully you will never see a quarantine sign at your pediatrician’s office.

Got questions about vaccines?

Get your answers before your pediatrician puts up a sign that they are firing all unvaccinated kids.

More Vaccine Signs and Posters

Avoiding the Most Common Vaccine Errors

Although it would be great if mistakes never ever happened, the best we can do is to understand that mistakes do sometimes happen and take steps to avoid them.

How can we avoid mistakes and errors about vaccines?

Avoiding Vaccine Errors

It can help to:

  • understand the 7 Rights of vaccine administration, including that you give the Right vaccine to the Right patient at the Right time by the Right route at the Right injection site and then follow it with the Right documentation
  • use a screening checklist to help avoid giving vaccines that are contraindicated
  • double check vaccines that look alike or have names that sound like, such as DTaP and Tdap
  • double check expiration dates
  • make sure you aren’t giving live vaccines within 28 days of each other, unless they are given at the same time
  • make sure you aren’t giving the wrong dosage amount for the patient’s age, as some vaccines have different formulations depending on the age of the patient, including flu shots, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B vaccines
  • be careful so that you don’t give a combination vaccine, such as Pediarix, Pentacel, Kinrix, Quadracel, or ProQuad, inappropriately

That we are have a 4-day grace period does help avoid the need to revaccinate some kids when vaccines are given a little too early.

“With the exception of rabies vaccine, ACIP allows a grace period of 4 days (i.e., vaccine doses administered up to 4 days before the recommended minimum interval or age can be counted as valid). However, if a dose was administered 5 or more days earlier than the recommended minimum interval between doses, it is not valid and must be repeated. The repeat dose should be spaced after the invalid dose by the recommended minimum interval.”

Ask the Experts About Scheduling Vaccines

In many cases, as long as vaccine doses were administered less than or equal to 4 days before the minimum interval or age, then they can still be counted and are considered valid.

Common Vaccine Errors

It’s easier than you think to prevent vaccine errors.

Especially if there are more than one child in the room getting vaccines, either the tray itself or the vaccines should be labeled with each child's name so that they don't get the wrong vaccines.
Especially if there is more than one child in the room getting vaccines, either the tray itself or the vaccines should be labeled with each child’s name so that they don’t get the wrong vaccines. Photo by Vincent Iannelli, MD

When are you most likely to make a vaccine error?

When you are doing something that isn’t routine, which most commonly happens when folks delay or skip some vaccines and are now playing catch-up.

In addition to the tips above, remember that:

  • the first dose of the rotavirus vaccines must be given by 15 weeks
  • the rotavirus vaccine series must be completed by 8 months (32 weeks)
  • ProQuad, the MMR and chicken pox combination vaccine, is not licensed for kids who are older than 12 years, although if a teen or adult did get ProQuad, it could be considered an off-label dose and could still count.
  • Kinrix and Quadracel, the DTaP and polio combination vaccines are only licensed for the 5th dose of DTaP and 4th dose of polio in children who are 4 to 6 years old, so wouldn’t be appropriate for an 18-month-old, even if he needs both (DTaP and polio) vaccines. Earlier doses can sometimes count as off-label doses though.
  • the combination vaccines Pediarix and Pentacel are only licensed up through age six years, but don’t necessarily need to be repeated if given to older kids.
  • children and adolescent’s get a pediatric dose (0.5ml) of the hepatitis A vaccine, while older teens, who are at least 19-years-old, get an adult (1.0ml) dose. Since most kids get vaccinated when they are younger, many pediatricians may not have the adult version of the hepatitis A or even realize that there is a different version.
  • children and adolescent’s get a pediatric dose (0.5ml) of the hepatitis B vaccine, while older teens, who are at least 20-years-old, get an adult (1.0ml) dose. Since most kids get vaccinated when they are younger, many pediatricians may not have the adult version of the hepatitis B vaccine or even realize that there is a different version.

Most importantly, even when giving vaccines on schedule, be sure to triple check everything. This is especially important if multiple kids in the same room are getting immunizations.

Also remember that vaccine errors should be reported to the ISMP National Vaccine Errors Reporting Program (VERP) or VAERS, with the correct dose repeated if necessary.

What to Know About Common Vaccine Errors

Although none of these vaccine errors are very common (hundreds of millions of doses of vaccines are given in the United States each year), understanding which ones occur the most often can help to make sure that they don’t happen in your office.

More on Common Vaccine Errors

Why Can’t My 9-Month-Old Get the Rotavirus Vaccine?

The rotavirus vaccines are typically given when infants are two to six months old.

The first dose can be given as early as 6 weeks or as late as 15 weeks though.

The rotavirus vaccines are given between 6 weeks to 32 weeks.

And the final dose can be given as late 8 months (32 weeks).

Why Can’t My 9-Month-Old Get the Rotavirus Vaccine?

What happens if your child didn’t get their rotavirus vaccine on time?

While these vaccines are usually given on either a two and four month (Rotarix) or two, four, and six month (RotaTeq) schedule, as you can see above, there is some flexibility in that timing.

Still, the first dose of the rotavirus vaccine can’t be given any later than 15 weeks and the final dose can’t be given any later than 8 months though, so there is no way that a nine-month-old would be able to get vaccinated.

What would happen if your child did?

“Vaccination should not be initiated for infants aged 15 weeks and 0 days or older because of insufficient data on safety of dose 1 of rotavirus vaccine in older infants. The minimum interval between doses of rotavirus vaccine is 4 weeks; no maximum interval is set. All doses should be administered by age 8 months and 0 days.”

Prevention of Rotavirus Gastroenteritis Among Infants and Children Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices

The rotavirus vaccines are only licensed at these specific ages, so were not studied in older infants and toddlers. If your 9-month-old did receive a rotavirus vaccine, it would be considered a vaccination error and should be reported.

So why not study them in older kids?

Since severe rotavirus infections mostly occur in younger children between the ages of 4 and 23 months, it doesn’t make any sense to wait until they are older to get them vaccinated.

“To minimize potential risk of intussusception, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that rotavirus immunization should be initiated by age 15 weeks and completed before age 32 weeks.”

Age restrictions for rotavirus vaccination: evidence-based analysis of rotavirus mortality reduction versus risk of fatal intussusception by mortality stratum

Also, although the risk is low, a small risk of intussusception after getting the rotavirus vaccine is thought to increase with increasing age of the first dose.

What does all of this mean?

It means that you should follow the immunization schedule and get your kids vaccinated and protected on time.

What to Know About Rotavirus Vaccine Timing

Don’t delay getting your child’s rotavirus vaccine or you may not be able to get it at all, as unlike most other vaccines, these vaccines have strict upper limits for when they can be given.

More on Rotavirus Vaccine Timing

Transporting Vaccines Safely

Need to move your vaccines from one place to another?

In Djibouti, vaccines were once transported using photovoltaic-powered refrigeration systems mounted on camels.
In Djibouti, vaccines were once transported using photovoltaic-powered refrigeration systems mounted on camels.

That might be more difficult than you think.

Transporting Vaccines Safely

Why would you need to move your vaccines?

Lots of reasons, including:

  • a temporary power outage
  • a vaccine clinic at an off-site location or clinic
  • to redistribute vaccines between clinics (should not be done routinely)
  • moving office locations

Why do you need to be careful when transporting your vaccines?

Because vaccines are very temperature sensitive and must be stored at the proper temperature. If your vaccines get too hot or too cold while being transported, then they likely won’t be effective anymore and will have to be replaced.

“The time needed to transport should be less than 8 hours and vaccine should be placed in a stable storage unit as quickly as possible .”

Vaccine Storage & Handling Toolkit

Fortunately, you can safely transport your vaccines if you plan ahead and have:

  • a hard sided coolor or styrofoam vaccine shipping container
  • conditioned frozen water bottles
  • insulating material
  • a temperature monitoring device

Except in emergency situations, you should also contact your VFC program before you transport vaccines to see if they have any specific instructions for you to follow.

What shouldn’t you do?

You should not use dry ice, attempt to transport multi-dose vials that have already been opened, or transport frozen and refrigerated vaccines in the same container.

And once transported, transfer the vaccines quickly to a new storage refrigerator or freezer, as appropriate, continuing to monitor and log temperatures.

What to Know About Transporting Vaccines

Be prepared before transporting your vaccines to another location so that they don’t get too hot or too cold.

More on Transporting Vaccines