Congratulations on your new baby and becoming new parents! With this cheat sheet, you’ll be able to learn more about newborn shots and vaccinations from why, how, when, and what diseases vaccinations protect your baby from.
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Newborn Shots and Vaccinations Cheat Sheet for New Parents
Vaccinations in the United States are a choice for many parents. We chose to vaccinate our kids. Even when we made that conscious decision, it was still nerve racking to see our babies get their vaccination shots and cry. I remember doing a lot of research on vaccinations with all of main stream media going nuts over some doctor who altered test results and caused a huge wave of parents not to vaccinate out of fear or false information. My husband and I were confident that the vaccines do work and although we had slipped out of the recommended immunization schedule, we did get all our kids’ vaccinations completed.
How safe are vaccines?
This is a common question among parents when it comes to vaccines and it’s no surprise because the diseases that these vaccines protect us from are often scary and deadly. Like all medications, vaccines can too cause a reaction but will it cause our babies to get sick? According to the CDC, probably not. Both my kids had some slight reactions when they got their vaccinations. Shortly after, they had a sore leg and redness where they received their vaccination. Sometimes they had a fever that lasted less than 24 hours. Although there are children who have gotten much more serious reactions. Taken from the CDC:
“Some children have more serious reactions like a high fever, chills, fussiness, or muscle aches. […] Rarely, a child will have a truly serious reaction, like encephalopathy
(brain infection) or a severe allergic reaction.”
According to the CDC, these serious reactions are extremely rare, difficult to pinpoint the actual cause, and that the benefits of vaccinations outweigh the risks.
I love the way the CDC describes how rare these serious reactions are because they used Harry Potter (and I’m a huge fan of Harry Potter) as an illustration:
There are about a million words in the 7-volume series of Harry Potter books. If we let each of those words represent a dose of vaccine, then one word, somewhere within the 7 books’ 4,224 pages, would represent the risk of a severe allergic reaction.
How do Vaccines work?
In short, your body’s immune system responds to foreign invaders by making antibodies that fight and rid the body of the foreign invaders. Therefore, vaccines work by intentionally introducing the body to a killed or weakened disease so that the body’s immune system can build up antibodies and develop immunity in the future towards specific diseases (source).
What diseases can be prevented with vaccines?
These diseases are preventable with vaccines before the age of 2 years old. Click here for details of each disease.
- Chicken Pox
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Whooping Cough
Which vaccines prevent which diseases?
Medical terminology is lost to me, probably because I didn’t go to medical school. When I asked my doctor or nurse about the vaccinations, they named the vaccine by letters and I got completely lost in what they were saying. Here are the list of vaccines and what diseases they prevent:
- Varicella vaccine protects against Chicken Pox
- DTaP protects against Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Hib protects against Haemophilus influenzae Type B (Hib)
- HepA protects against Hepatitis A
- HepB protects against Hepatitis B
- Flu vaccine protects against influenza
- MMR protects against Measles, Mumps, and Rubella
- IPV protects against Polio
- PCV protects against Pneumococcal
- RV protects against Rotavirus
When are these vaccinations given?
The CDC has a recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule.
The reason why these vaccinations are given to your kids at such a young age (before age 2) is to provide immunity before your kids could be exposed to these potentially life-threatening diseases. There are delayed immunization schedules because many people are often alarmed with how many shots in a certain time period and feel that this could “overload” the body. According to the CDC, these vaccinations won’t overload the body and that there isn’t any benefit in delaying vaccinations but rather the opposite:
“Vaccines do not overload the immune system. Every day, a healthy baby’s immune system successfully fights off millions of antigens […] Children do not receive any known benefits from following schedules that delay vaccines. We do know that delaying vaccines puts children at known risk of becoming ill with vaccine-preventable diseases.”
You can find out more information about how the CDC comes up with the Childhood Immunization Schedule here and why.
What questions do you have about newborn shots and vaccinations?
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