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It’s normal to have questions when it’s time for your child to get vaccinated. The good news is that being prepared can make getting vaccinated less stressful — for both you and your child.
Below you’ll find information to help you learn what to expect before, during, and after your child’s appointment.
There are steps you can take before your child’s appointment to help things go more smoothly at the doctor’s office.
It can be helpful to bring your child’s vaccination records to the appointment so the doctor knows which vaccines they’ve already had. If you can’t find your child’s vaccination records, you can:
Tip: If your child has a favorite blanket or toy, consider bringing it to the appointment to help comfort your child.
If your child is old enough, try talking with them about what to expect at the appointment. This can help them feel more comfortable. Use these tips to talk with your child:
It’s important to know what to discuss with the doctor during your child’s appointment. You can also learn strategies for comforting your child while they get vaccinated.
During your vaccination appointment, the doctor is required to give you a Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) that explains the benefits and risks of a vaccine. If your child’s doctor doesn’t give you one, you can ask for it. Learn more about VISs.
Be sure to let the doctor know if your child isn’t feeling well on the day they’re supposed to get vaccinated. Children who have a mild illness — like a low fever or a cold — may still be able to get vaccines. If your child has a more serious illness, you may need to come back when they’re feeling better.
Some children may not be able to get certain vaccines — or may need to wait to get them. Tell the doctor if your child:
You may be able to hold your child during the vaccination. Holding your child can comfort them while they get the shot. Additionally:
Teens and preteens can sometimes faint after a shot, so it’s important to have them sit down during their vaccination and for 15 minutes after they get vaccinated.
Before you leave the appointment, ask the doctor if there are any steps you can take to help your child feel more comfortable. For example, having your child move their arm around after vaccination may help with pain and swelling.
Most people don’t have any serious side effects after getting vaccinated. The most common side effects are usually mild. They include:
If your child has mild side effects, you can take steps to help them feel better. For example:
It’s very unlikely that your child will have serious side effects from a vaccine. If you see anything that concerns you, call your child’s doctor.
To learn more:
Last reviewed: January 2018