Childhood Immunizations

Infant vaccinations continue to play vital role in overall health

We often take it for granted that our children will live carefree lives, free of the never-ending worry about life-threatening childhood diseases that have haunted humankind throughout history. That confidence is all due to the amazing power of immunizations.

Remarkably, no single medical breakthrough has saved more children's lives than immunizations. In the United States alone, immunizations have resulted in record-low levels of certain childhood diseases. Vaccines also protect the population at large because they work to reduce the general prevalence of once-common infections. In fact, immunizations are directly responsible for wiping out one of the world's worst diseases affecting childrensmall pox.

How Immunizations Work

We're given immunizations, or vaccines, so our bodies produce antibodies against certain infections. These antibodies then serve to help prevent the infection from developing and making us severely ill.  

Immunizations are a direct and measurable result of how we've been able to use our ever-growing knowledge of the human immune system. These advancements have made childhood vaccines, generally, very safe. Some children, however, may experience mild adverse events at the time of the vaccination, including fever, soreness at the vaccine site, or a lump under the skin where the shot was given.

The very small risk of serious adverse events is far outweighed by the disease-preventing benefits of vaccines in most cases. However, there are some situations in which children should not receive certain vaccines. Examples of these situations include children who:

  • Had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a component in the vaccine
  • Are severely ill (wait until the child has recovered)
  • Are taking medicines to suppress the immune system
  • Have certain types of cancer or other diseases

Childhood Immunization Schedule

Vaccinations should be started at birth. Most of them should be given within the first two years. Older children also need certain vaccinations. The best way to make sure your child gets the right vaccines at the right times is to go for regular well-child check-ups. Your child's doctor will follow a schedule and will let you know about any new vaccines or changes in the schedule.

Access the CDC's Instant Childhood Immunization Schedule for children up to age six.

Additionally, use this schedule which summarizes when children of average risk should receive certain vaccinations. You may print the schedule and use the Date Received column to track when your child receives each vaccine.

Keeping track of your child's shots

Aurora Health Care uses the Wisconsin Immunization Registry to record your child's shots. This is a statewide computer program that keeps track of all vaccinations given. Your child's record is updated each time another vaccination is given. You may ask for a printed copy of this record, or access the information yourself at the Wisconsin Immunization Registry.

What if parents can't afford to have their children vaccinated?

Vaccinations are usually free or low cost for children when families can't afford them. For more information, please contact your local health department or the Wisconsin Immunization Program at 608-267-5148.

Talk with your Aurora primary care doctor about immunizing your child. Aurora Health Care urges all parents to get their infants and young children immunized.

More resources

DISCLAIMER: The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.