Childhood Immunizations | Richmond, VA


The Importance of Vaccination

Children in the United States routinely get vaccines that protect them from more than a dozen diseases such as measles, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Most of these diseases are now at their lowest levels in history, due to years of immunization. Children are required to get certain vaccines before they may attend school.

Vaccines help make your child immune to serious diseases without getting sick first. Without a vaccine, your child must actually get a disease in order to become immune to the germ that causes it. Vaccines work best when they are given at certain ages. For example, children do not receive the MMR or measles vaccine until they are at least one year old. If it were given earlier it might not work as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes a schedule for childhood vaccines.

Immunization Schedules

The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) recommend following the immunization schedule from birth throughout childhood. Since vaccinations are required for school attendance, following the recommended schedule will increase the likelihood that your child will be ready for school medically. For children who move around frequently and miss vaccinations, there is a vaccination catch-up schedule that is provided to get them back on track.

Immunizations for Children from Birth through 6 years old

Immunizations for Preteens and Teens (7 to 18 years old)


Frequently Asked Questions about Vaccines

Swift Creek Pediatrics understands that you may have several questions regarding your baby or child receiving vaccinations. We are happy to answer any questions during an office visit, and we are glad to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions here.

Any vaccine can cause side effects. Usually, these side effects are minor and may include a low-grade fever, fussiness and soreness at the injection site. Some vaccines cause a temporary headache, fatigue or loss of appetite. Very rarely, a child may experience a severe allergic reaction or a neurological side effect, such as a seizure. Although these rare side effects are a concern, the risk of a vaccine’s causing serious harm or death is extremely small. The lifelong benefits of getting a vaccine greatly outweigh the possible side effects for almost all children.
The diseases that childhood vaccines are designed to prevent are most likely to occur when a child is very young, and the risk of complications is greatest. That makes early vaccination, beginning shortly after birth, critical. If you postpone vaccines until a child is older, it might be too late to achieve full immunity.
Vaccines do not cause autism. Despite much controversy on the topic, researchers have yet to find a connection between childhood vaccines and autism. The original study that sparked the debate years ago has been retracted.
Babies are born with strong immune systems, and they can handle more germs than what they receive from vaccines. The amount of germs in vaccines is a small percentage of the germs babies’ immune systems encounter every day.
Community immunity is a type of immunity that occurs when the vaccination of a significant portion of a population (also known as the herd) provides some degree of protection for individuals who have not developed immunity.

Community immunity is created when a large percentage of the population is protected by having received vaccinations against a virus or bacterium. This vaccinated community makes it difficult for a disease to spread, as there are few susceptible people left to infect.

At Swift Creek Pediatrics, we recommend staying on track with the vaccination schedule offered by the CDC. A vaccination for a disease is the only way to protect the health of your child, as vaccination offers him/her immunity to disease rather than just protection from exposure.

Care With Your Child in Mind