National Infant Immunization Week, April 18-25, 2015

(Including tips to decrease vaccination anxiety & pain)

The Vaccine for Children’s program, or VFC, was established in 1993 after the measles outbreak of 1989 – 1991 in which 55,662 children got ill, and 123 died. The outbreak was caused by the widespread failure to vaccinate uninsured children between the ages of 12 – 15 months. The VFC program’s purpose was to make sure all eligible children are able to receive vaccinations, regardless of their ability to pay.

The National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) was established the following year in 1994 to promote the VFC program and to encourage the vaccinating of children. It is now observed annually to promote the benefits of vaccines to children two years and younger. This year, NIIW is being held simultaneously with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) “World Immunization Week”.

Vaccines are one of medicine’s greatest achievements. We can now protect infants and children against 14 preventable diseases before two years of age. The 14 diseases we protect against are: Chickenpox, Diphtheria, Haemoplilus influenzae type b, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Influenza, Measles, Mumps, Pertussis, Polio, Pneumococcal Disease, Rotavirus, Rubella, and Tetanus. I have first hand experience with all but one of these diseases (the one exception is Diphtheria), and the parents of the children that became ill would have done anything to prevent their child’s illness. Vaccines prevent disease.

CLICK THIS LINK to view a PDF that contains a brief synopsis of the 14 diseases and photographs.

Vaccinations may cause soreness and/or redness at the injection site, and sometimes may cause fever. There are things you can do as a parent to make your child more comfortable when they come in for their vaccinations to decrease their anxiety and/or pain.

Before the doctor’s visit:

For younger children:


  • Pack a favorite toy or book, or a blanket that your child uses regularly to comfort him.


For older children:


  • Be honest with your child. Explain that shots can pinch or sting, but that it won’t hurt for long.
  • Encourage other family members, especially older siblings, to support your child.
  • Avoid telling scary stories about shots or making threats about shots. (Never threaten a child with a “shot”, as it scares your child and makes my job harder as she/he does not trust me, and refuses to be examined.)


At the doctor’s office:


  • Distract and comfort your child by cuddling, singing, or talking softly.
  • Smile and make eye contact with your child. Let your child know that everything is okay.
  • Comfort your child with a favorite toy or book. A blanket that smells familiar will help your child feel more comfortable.
  • Frequently, when I’m involved in giving vaccines to children, I will tickle the child and make them laugh a lot. Often, they don’t realize they got an injection till a few seconds later. They usually do fairly well with this distraction, and it keeps pain and anxiety to a minimum.


After the doctor’s visit:


  • If needed, put cool compresses on the injection site.
  • Use non-aspirin pain relievers as recommended by your doctor.
  • In some children, you may see a bump and/or red spots at the injection sites for a few days. This is common and to be expected.


For more information on vaccines, please contact your personal physician, or visit

You can create your child’s personal vaccine schedule based on their birthdate, for the first six years of life, by visiting this

Pregnant ladies need vaccines too. This is to protect you and your newborn. If you are considering becoming pregnant, please check with your doctor on your vaccinations. A flyer which briefly explains recommended vaccines for pregnant women can be found here.

For complete information on vaccines in pregnant women, visit