Immunizations Q & A
What do vaccines protect against?
A typical immunization line-up for children and young adults prevents the following infectious diseases:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Hib (Haemophilus influenza type b)
- Whooping cough
- Pneumococcal disease
- HPV — human papillomavirus
Dr. Cruz will provide you with a schedule, so you better understand what needs to be done and when.
When should I start vaccinations?
Most children start their immunization schedules right after birth. While most of the recommended vaccines are given before the child turns two, they can be given up until the age of six.
With certain vaccines—such as tetanus, whooping cough, and diphtheria—boosters may be required as kids enter their pre-teen years. Also, a new, highly effective vaccine against HPV is available and recommended for children before their 15th birthday.
As you age vaccination may be necessary for providing further protection in certain situations, such as:
- Immunizations against the flu or shingles for adults
- Medical conditions that require updated vaccines
- Travel to foreign countries
Talk to Dr. Cruz about which vaccinations are right for your medical history, your lifestyle, and your travel plans.
How do vaccines work?
Immunizations, or vaccines, work by injecting a small amount of the virus or bacteria—which is either weakened or killed—into your body to promote an immune response that produces antibodies against the virus or bacteria. In effect, vaccines train your body to recognize and fight off a particular virus from an early age, affording lifelong protection.
Another important aspect of proper immunization is that it not only protects you and your family from being infected by a disease, it also prevents you from spreading that disease to others. It is for this reason that most schools—as well as many countries throughout the world—require vaccines.
Do vaccines have side effects?
For the most part, vaccines are considered to be very safe. Most side effects are minor and consist of:
- Redness or soreness at the injection site
- Low-grade fever
- Allergic reactions: These are rare, and Dr. Cruz is equipped to handle an allergic reaction at his clinic