Immunization overview for parents: I know I want to vaccinate. Now what?
Updated: Apr 30
Choosing to fully vaccinate your children is the best way to keep them protected from preventable diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Here are some answers to frequently asked questions that may be helpful.
How should I keep track of my child's shot record?
Despite what some people think, the CDC does not keep track of your children’s vaccination records. It is primarily the parent or guardian’s responsibility. Most doctors and the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) offer vaccine tracking methods. A paper copy is provided at the hospital to document the immunizations every newborn has received. It is updated and sent home with the family at every well child check. A digital record is also available through your doctor’s office and may be accessed online at some pediatricians’ offices. If you need a replacement copy, check directly with your pediatrician or state department of health.
Do I need to make an appointment with my pediatrician every time a new vaccine comes due?
Vaccinations are given at well child checks, which most insurance companies cover at 100%. Schedule directly with your pediatrician for routine immunizations or OSDH for boosters. The Vaccines for Children Program works with OSDH to make immunizations possible for families that may not otherwise have the ability to pay for them. Many clinics also offer immunizations without charge.
How can I help my child prepare to be vaccinated?
Getting immunized can cause anxiety in children and adults. Preparation should be age-appropriate. Avoid the self-fulfilling prophecy; if you are nervous, your child is more likely to mirror those emotions. Having open conversations, incentives, distractions, or even just physical affection and support during the appointment can help ease that anxiety for your child. It is important to communicate with your child that you love them and are there to support them through what is a routine procedure that helps them stay healthy. Explaining how vaccines protect us from getting sick is also a point of logic children can understand and they may be more accepting of that information than parents anticipate.
What can I do to ease my child’s discomfort after being immunized?
There are many ways to ease discomfort during and after vaccines. Your doctor will provide a dosing chart and other information about fever reducers and other over-the-counter remedies that can help with mild side effects expected after vaccination.
How can I encourage other parents to vaccinate?
It is important to share with other parents why you chose to vaccinate. That decision could be because modern vaccines protect your child from contagious diseases.
It could also be because your choice to vaccinate stops the spread of diseases and protects newborns and immuno-compromised individuals who cannot be vaccinated yet.
Parents who have children with weakened immune systems or specific and severe allergies do not always have the same choice to vaccinate their children. They depend on healthy children to be fully immunized. Your decision to vaccinate your child contributes to community immunity, and protects the most vulnerable members of the society we share.
Ultimately, it is every parent’s choice to vaccinate or not to vaccinate, but sharing your decision with others can lead to a facts-based conversation. It is a reasonable expectation that public health protects the people it serves. Be proud of your decision to stand with science and vaccinate for your child’s wellbeing and the health of our greater community.