YOU ARE WATCHING
NOW PLAYING: 12 of 14
All vaccines have some side effects which may include redness, itchiness or swelling at the incision point. Some side effects in some children have been more serious. Doctors concur that the benefits of vaccination still outweigh the risks of not getting vaccinated.
In this video series, physicians at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia explain how vaccines work and how they are made. The video also describes several vaccines and the diseases they prevent. Families share their stories of children affected by vaccine-preventable diseases.
Dennis A. Brooks, MD: All vaccines have some side effects. Usually, the side effects are mild, like pain or redness or tenderness or even some swelling at the site where the shot is given. But some vaccines have more severe side effects. For example, the pertussis or whooping cough vaccine is a very rare cause of persistent, inconsolable crying. Crying can last longer than three hours and can be very frightening for both the parent and the child. About 1 of every 10,000 doses of pertussis vaccine will cause a child to experience this problem. So a parent could reasonably ask, "Why not just avoid any risk and simply not give the pertussis vaccine?" The answer is that a choice not to give a vaccine is not a risk-free choice. It is simply a choice to take a different and much more serious risk, the risk of getting pertussis, a disease that infects thousands of children every year, some of whom will die from it. You could think of a vaccine as being like a seat belt. Certainly, there is a small risk that in an accident your child's seat belt could cause a minor injury. That's a side effect of wearing one, but measured against a far more serious consequences of not wearing a seat belt, it's a risk every parent should be willing to take.
We would like to hear from you. Please use our online form to contact us with questions or comments.