Childhood Immunizations

Childhood Immunization Sarah Burlason, RN speaks with Susan Roman,o Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in the Vanderbilt Pediatric Primary Care Clinic on the topic of Childhood Immunizations.

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Vaccines for Your Children

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Sarah Burlason: Welcome to this edition of the Vanderbilt University Health and Wellness Wellcast. I am Sarah Burlason with Occupational Health. Today, we are here to talk with Susan Romano, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner of the Vanderbilt Pediatric Primary Care Clinic on the topic of childhood immunizations. Which of the vaccines are most commonly recommended for children? Susan Romano: Usually, vaccines are given within the first 24 hours of life starting with your hepatitis B. Then, at 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months, we start with routine vaccinations of diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, rotavirus, Haemophilus influenzae, pneumococcal vaccine, your polio,.. At 12 months, you will get your measles, mumps, rubella, your varicella, and your hepatitis A, and at 15 months and 18 months, you will get your booster vaccinations with your diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, and hepatitis A, and usually by 24 months, most children are caught up with the recommended vaccines. Sarah Burlason: And after 24 months, what vaccines are then recommended for children? Susan Romano: So, usually at that point, children are immune and by age 11 is when we start to rebooster children. That is when they will get their tetanus, DTaP, and pertussis vaccine again. Also, they will get the meningococcal vaccines, and they would need another booster at the age of 16. Also, another strongly recommended vaccine is the HPV vaccine, human papillomavirus vaccine. We are recommending that for boys and girls starting at the age of 11. Also, a yearly recommended vaccine is the flu vaccine. I think the flu vaccine is especially critical for children. Children tend to get the sickest from the flu as opposed to adults. The common misconception is that the flu vaccine gives you the flu. I always tell families that when you get the flu vaccine that does not guarantee that you will never get any flu like symptoms, any colds during the flu season, but it definitely is shown that children who do get the flu vaccine their symptoms are far or less severe and they have much less serious consequences from the flu. Sarah Burlason: Can you tell me a little about how vaccines work? Susan Romano: Basically, vaccines will actually help the body prepare for you to fight the disease without exposing it to the actual disease itself. So, they basically help you develop immunity without you having to get sick for it. So, vaccines will almost imitate the infection without making the person sick and what that eventually does is that allows your body to produce cells inside your body to protect you from the disease if you are ever exposed to it in the future. So, they protect you not only right after the vaccine but eventually down the road your body will develop what is called an immunity against the disease. Sarah Burlason: These childhood vaccines that we have gone over, are they considered safe? Susan Romano: Yes, they are very safe for the reason that they will prevent a child from getting these symptoms that you would get from the real disease. Without vaccine, children if they are contracting these diseases or suffering from things like hearing loss, limb amputation, serious infection, prolonged hospitalization, and unfortunately even death, which if given the vaccines, you really can prevent children from getting those adverse effects. Sarah Burlason: What kind of risks are there for children that are not getting vaccinated? Susan Romano: The major risk is that they themselves will get the diseases. For example, we are seeing a huge outbreak of measles, mumps, rubella, as well as whooping cough which used to actually not be really prevalent at all in our countries and in States, but now, we are seeing a large increase in that, and not only by not being vaccinated is that non-vaccinated child is at risk you are also putting other people at risk as well for transmitting the diseases. Sarah Burlason: As we talked about looking for more information and resources on childhood immunizations, we have seen a gap created in completing these vaccination series. Can you speak to why this is happening? Why people are not completing their vaccines? Susan Romano: I think a lot of it is parents getting not the correct information. Of course, I definitely understand parents’ fear and concerns about getting vaccines. They of course want the best for their child, that is definitely understandable, and I think unfortunately there is a lot of wrong information put out on certain websites that are not regulated, that are not checking if there are actually the correct facts. The CDC which is the Center for Disease Control I think has the best and most informative information about vaccines, their safeness, their effectiveness, and really just a critical importance of getting the vaccines. Sarah Burlason: Where can people find information and resources about childhood immunizations? Susan Romano: Most importantly is your pediatrician. They would be probably your first line of access to get information about the vaccines. The CDC, which is Center for Disease Control, website is the most accurate and has the most helpful information about the vaccines. What vaccines do? What side effects that children may get from them? The side effects from vaccines usually are most typically a little bit of a low grade fever and some tenderness at the injection site, but again, those side effects are far and few compared to what you will get if you did not get the vaccines. Sarah Burlason: Thanks for listening. Please feel free to leave us any comments on the Wellcast on the form at the bottom of this page. If you have a story suggestion, please email it to us at or you can use the “Contact Us” page on our website at -- end of recording --