Importance of Being Immunized Brochure
Download the Importance of Being Immunized brochure.

Recent headlines have stirred up some discussion among parents over whether to have your child immunized. Experts at St. Louis Children's Hospital strongly recommend the vaccinations, saying there is no research linking vaccines to other childhood conditions, and that the risks of skipping your child's shots far outweigh any unproven risk of receiving them.

Compared to the generations of our grandparents and great-grandparents, fewer people are affected today by dangerous infectious diseases. This reflects decades of effort in vaccine development and administration. For example, wild smallpox was eliminated through a worldwide vaccine program. But polio and other infectious agents have not vanished completely. Children still need to be vaccinated in order to be protected from these diseases.

State laws require children to be vaccinated against up to 10 infectious diseases before attending school or childcare. These immunizations protect your children – and others around them – from serious illnesses. In Missouri and Illinois, children in school or daycare must be immunized against measles, mumps, rubella, Haemophilus influenzae type B, hepatitis B, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and polio.

Immunization Q&A:

  • What are vaccines?
    Vaccines contain small doses of bacteria or viruses that have been weakened or killed. In some cases, only certain parts of bacteria or viruses are used. When injected, vaccines prompt the body’s immune system to make antibodies, special proteins that will recognize and eliminate wild bacteria or viruses when your child encounters them later in life. Overall, vaccines are 90 percent to 99 percent effective in preventing these diseases. 
  • Are there side effects?
    Some vaccines can cause soreness at the site of injection, or sometimes a mild fever or rash for a day following administration. Serious reactions are very rare, occurring once in hundreds of thousands, or even millions of doses. For most children, the benefits of vaccination far outweigh any risk associated with these vaccines.
  • Can a child still get vaccinated if he/she is sick?
    In most cases, mild illnesses such as colds, ear infections or diarrhea do not prevent your child from receiving his or her shots. Ask your pediatrician for more information.
  • How should I keep track of my child’s immunizations?
    Each child should have a permanent immunization record card that documents the type and date of each immunization. Have your pediatrician update your card each time vaccines are given.


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