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What to Expect

Whether you are heading to your child’s first pediatrician visit or your own medical appointment, getting vaccinated is an easier process when you know what to expect. This section is a guide on how to prepare for your visit, what will happen during the visit, and what to know after getting vaccinated. Information is organized for Children and for Adults. Each of these sections has a before, during and after tab to help you prepare for each part of the vaccine visit.

  • Some elements of getting vaccinated may have changed since your last visit. For example, Vaccine Information Statements (VIS) for each vaccine you or your child will receive are all available online, and in many different languages, so you can read about the vaccine(s) before your visit. Your provider might keep health records electronically, but it’s a good idea to have a paper record for your reference.

  • During the visit, your provider will ask questions about your or your child’s health to make sure getting vaccinated is safe and appropriate. You can always ask your doctor questions if you would like more information. There are also ways to make getting vaccinated less painful for you or your child – find those tips inside this section in the “During” tab.

  • Like any medical product, vaccines have benefits and risks. Most adverse effects following vaccination are usually minor and short-lived. For example, you or your child may feel soreness at the injection site or experience a fever.
  • Serious vaccine reactions are extremely rare, but they can happen. In the unlikely event that you or your child does have a serious reaction, first have it taken care of by your doctor or other provider. Afterward, there are two programs you should know about—the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System and the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program—which are explained in more detail in the “After” tab.

Last reviewed: April 2015