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Why should my child get vaccinated?

Vaccines help prevent many diseases that affect children and adults. This includes diseases that are not common, like measles, mumps and rubella, rotavirus and polio. These diseases used to be common, but now they are not because most children and adults have been vaccinated.

Why does my child need so many vaccines when they are young?

We give children vaccines as early as possible to protect them from disease. It might seem like a lot, but there is enough time in between each vaccine or dose so your child can build up immunity (resistance) to the disease.

Delaying your child’s vaccines means delaying protection against disease. Talk with your child’s doctor if you have questions or concerns about your child’s vaccine schedule (the time between vaccines).

How well do vaccines work?

Most vaccines work about 90% of the time. This means that 9 out of 10 children who get a vaccine will not catch the disease the vaccine protects against. Not every vaccine works all of the time, but many work well for children and adults.

Do vaccines cause autism?

No. Studies have not been able to show that vaccines cause autism. The 1 study that showed vaccines cause autism was retracted (proven to be untrue). The doctor who did that study lost his medical license. Many more studies with large numbers of children have been done since then. These studies haven’t shown a connection between vaccines and autism.

I'm nervous about my child getting their vaccines. What can I do?

Talk with your child’s doctor about your concerns or questions. They can tell you more about each vaccine, why it’s important and how it can help your child.

How does vaccinating my child help others?

  • It helps protect children and adults who can’t get vaccinated. There are some children who can’t get vaccinated for medical reasons. When your child is vaccinated, it helps protect other children or adults who can’t.
  • It helps lower the number of people affected by a disease. As more people are vaccinated against a certain disease, the disease affects fewer people over time. For example, measles used to affect children in the United States. Now, there are very few families in the U.S. who are affected by measles. This is because most children are vaccinated against measles.

Adapted from “Childhood Vaccines: What Parents Should Know” by Vandana Madhavan, MD, MPH