Young cheerful child receives vaccination

Every parent wants their children to be healthy and safe. Vaccines play an important part in this goal. The government recommends a pediatric vaccine schedule, with suggested shots at key ages, to protect against preventable diseases. With Touchpoint Pediatrics, learn more about what pediatric vaccination schedules are and how to prepare your child for their first shot.

The Value of Vaccines

Vaccines are one of the best ways to protect your child against illness. They work by introducing a weak or inactive part of a germ, or antigen, to your child’s body. This controlled exposure teaches the body how to recognize and fight the germ, without putting your child at risk of illness. If your child ever encounters that germ again, they will be prepared to resist. Vaccines have been developed to prevent a wide variety of common childhood diseases, including:

  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Polio
  • Measles
  • Influenza
  • COVID-19
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Varicella (chicken pox)
  • And more

Before vaccines are approved for use, they go through years of rigorous testing. This testing ensures that the vaccine is effective and safe for your child. It also examines potential side effects so that families can be fully informed before committing to a vaccine.

What Is a Pediatric Vaccine Schedule?

An immunization schedule is a plan that outlines doctors’ recommendations for when your child should receive which vaccinations. The schedule is delivered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and built upon extensive research conducted by doctors and pathologists.

The government vaccine schedule is only a recommendation, not a requirement. Most states, however, have laws that require kids to have certain vaccines before they can attend daycare, public schools, or college. Exemptions are made only for children with a medical condition that prevents them from getting the vaccine. These laws are in place to protect your child and everyone around them. The more people get vaccinated, the harder it is for a disease to spread.

When preparing for a new child, talk to your pediatrician about your state’s vaccination laws. They will tell you which vaccines are required and help you plan ahead for appointments.

Preparing For Vaccination Day

Vaccination appointments can be stressful for kids and parents alike. Planning ahead is a great way to build confidence that may pass down to your child. Here are some ways you can prepare:

  • Do your research: Before the appointment, review any vaccine information your pediatrician provides. CDC also offers online resources to help new parents prepare.
  • Ask about ointments: Some clinics will offer a cooling ointment or spray to block pain signals. Because this takes time to prepare, it helps to ask in advance of the appointment.
  • Be honest: Kids are smart. If your child is old enough to understand, explain what will happen in simple terms. Even babies will feel reassured by your voice.
  • Stay positive: When describing the upcoming vaccination, use words like “pinch” or “poke” instead of “shot”. Act upbeat and cheerful to show your child there is nothing to fear.

Before and After the Appointment

Hospitals and clinics are unfamiliar environments, and shots may sound scary even to older children. During a vaccination appointment, your priority as a parent should be keeping your child calm. Here are some tips for calming children of all ages during immunization:

  • Bring comfort items: If your child has a favorite toy, blanket, or book, bring it to the appointment. This will give them something familiar to focus on.
  • Offer a sweet snack: A small amount of sucrose or glucose will reduce pain from shots. Babies can be breastfed; kids can be given a treat before or during the shot.
  • Distract your child: Call your child’s name, sing a song, tell a story, or just chat to keep your child’s attention away from the shot. Continue the distraction for a short time afterward as well.
  • Provide care and support: Calm babies by swaddling and whispering to them softly. With older kids, take deep breaths with them to help “blow out” the pain.
  • Watch for side effects: Some shots cause mild effects, like swelling or a light fever. These are normal and will go away quickly. If anything more severe occurs, contact your doctor.

About Vaccinations at Touchpoint Pediatrics

Touchpoint Pediatrics is pro-vaccines and works to make vaccinations accessible to families in Chatham, New Jersey, and the surrounding areas. We value patient safety, so administer only preservative-free vaccines. We don’t use combo vaccines, since most of these use aluminum as a reagent. Since infants haven’t fully developed their filtration to hard metals, we avoid combo vaccines to ensure safety.

Our electronic medical records have a built-in vaccine logic, which allows Touchpoint pediatricians to monitor vaccine schedules. This ensures families stay on top of vaccinations. Patients are encouraged to get the most important vaccines first and come in another day for their other vaccines. This avoids putting strain on the immune system by getting too many vaccinations at once. We don’t charge for office visits if patients are just getting vaccines, so parents don’t need to worry about additional copays.

Touchpoint Pediatrics’ policy is that children should be fully vaccinated by two years old. Although we’re proponents of vaccinations, we never pressure families to vaccinate.

Meet with a Pediatrician Today

If you are a new parent, get in touch with Touchpoint Pediatrics today. We will schedule a “Meet You” visit so you can speak with one of our compassionate, board-certified Touchpoint pediatricians about our practice and philosophy. We are located in Chatham, New Jersey, serving clients in Morristown, Summit, Berkeley Heights, Hoboken, and beyond. To learn more about pediatric vaccine schedules or to schedule a “Meet You” session, contact us.