Do you have doubts about childhood vaccination ? Calm down, you’re not the only one. More and more parents are thinking twice before deciding to vaccinate their children. Check out more articles on our site.
We remind you that in Spain it is not mandatory to vaccinate children, except in cases of serious risk to public health. Therefore, the decision is up to you.
However, you should know that professionals insist on the importance of vaccinations for both children and adults. That is why we have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about childhood vaccination. For the answers, we have chosen those offered by the Vaccine Advisory Committee of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics.
10 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS PARENTS ASk
1. What are vaccines?
They are biological products that serve to prevent infectious diseases, activating our body to develop specific defenses against them.
2. How are the vaccines administered?
By injection, by mouth, or intranasally.
3. How do vaccines work?
Once the vaccine is received, your child’s body produces antibodies that will protect it against the true agents that cause the disease.
4. Why should I vaccinate my children?
Because vaccines will protect them from dangerous diseases. Some can cause sequelae, serious complications or even death.
5. What are those dangerous diseases?
The most common vaccines in Spain are the following: hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b, meningococcus C, pneumococcus, measles, rubella, mumps or mumps, chicken pox, human papilloma virus, rotavirus, meningococcus B, hepatitis A and flu.
6. How many shots will my child need?
During the first 6 years of a child’s life, the Spanish Pediatric Association recommends administering the following (although this depends on each Autonomous Community):
During the first year:
- 3 doses against hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, Haemophilus influenzae type b and polio. These 6 vaccines are usually given as a single injection (hexavalent vaccine) at 2, 4, and 6 months.
- 2/3 doses against meningococcus C: at 2, 4 and 12 months.
- 3 doses against pneumococcus: at 2, 4 and 11/12 months.
- 2/3 doses of oral rotavirus vaccine (not covered by Social Security): at 2 and 4 months (depending on the preparation, a third dose may be required at 6 months).
Between 12 months and 4 years:
- 4 doses against meningococcus B: at 3, 5, 7 and 12/15 months of age. It is not covered by Social Security.
- 2 doses against measles, mumps and rubella: the first at 12 months of age and the second between 2 and 4 years. The three components are administered together (MMR).
- 2 doses against chickenpox: the first between 12 and 15 months and the second between 2 and 4 years.
At the age of 6:
- 1 dose against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio.
If you need more information, on the website of the Vaccine Advisory Committee you can see the AEP childhood vaccination schedule for 2018.
7. Are all vaccines free?
All the vaccines included in the official calendar of each Autonomous Community are free. Generally, rotavirus, meningococcal B, and pneumococcal vaccines must be paid for. However, this may vary depending on your place of residence.
8. What happens if I have missed a vaccine?
In this case, it is best to talk to your pediatrician. Normally, you can get it at any time, since most vaccines can be given at any age. Now, it is one thing for you to be late and another for you to skip the administration of a vaccine just because.
Although in Spain there are very few cases of diseases that are preventable through childhood vaccination, this does not mean that these diseases have been eradicated. Many of the viruses and bacteria that produce them are still present in our country, or in countries to which we travel. For this reason it is important that children receive the recommended vaccines on time.
9. Can I wait until my child starts school to get vaccinated?
You shouldn’t, because the childhood vaccination schedule states that vaccinations should start at birth or at 2 months. Also, most are given during the baby’s first two years of life. In this way, you are not only protecting him, but you will also prevent him from infecting other children at school or daycare.
You should keep in mind that children under the age of five are very susceptible to diseases because their immune systems have not yet developed the necessary defenses to fight infections.
10. Are vaccines safe?
Yes, “they are very safe medicines”. The AEP explains that the vaccines are subjected to “strict” studies before they can be administered to the population and continue to be monitored even once they are marketed. However, they are still drugs. As such, they can cause side effects that are usually very mild: pain instead of a sting, a slight fever, or a rash.
Exceptionally, a vaccine can trigger serious reactions in people allergic to that preparation or with other special circumstances. For this reason, its control and administration by health professionals and its permanence in the health center for 15-20 minutes after vaccination is recommended.
In case you see that your child is having a serious reaction to a vaccine, you should call 112 or take him to the hospital right away.