Immunizations protect children and adults from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Presently, vaccines are available to protect against measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, varicella (chicken pox), Hemophilis influenza B, certain kinds of meningitis, seasonal influenza, and HPV (human papilloma virus)..
Most pediatric health care providers believe that children with special health care needs should be vaccinated. However, a few health conditions necessitate that a child avoid some vaccines or get them at a later time. For example, children with cancer, children taking steroid medications for lung or kidney problems, or children with immunity problems (such as those who have had transplants) should not get vaccines that are made with live viruses. However, these children can be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases if others around them are vaccinated.
Children need most of their vaccines by age 2. Because information about vaccine-preventable diseases is constantly monitored by local and federal health agencies, recommendations for immunizations may change. Current information about which vaccinations are medically recommended is available from your child’s primary care provider.
Many states, including Pennsylvania, require additional vaccines for entry into kindergarten. Information about which vaccinations are required by law is available from the Allegheny County Health Department and from your local school districit.
Pennsylvania law permits a religious or medical exemption from required vaccines. If a student with such an exemption attends a school which has an outbreak, even one case, of a condition for which he/she was not vaccinated, the student may be temporarily banned by the health department from school attendance. The student’s return to school will depend on the incubation period of the condition.
If you are concerned about vaccine safety for your child, schedule time with your child’s primary care provider to discuss your concerns and to ask for more information.
Providers of Immunizations
Most primary care physicians administer immunizations. If you or your child’s primary care provider believe that your child requires special preparation of immunizations, such as vaccines manufactured in a certain way or with only one kind of vaccine in the dose, contact the Allegheny County Health Department for advice, 412-687-ACHD(2243).
Resource Contact Information
|Allegheny County Health Department Immunization Clinic / Infectious Diseases|
|Pennsylvania Department of Health, Division of Immunizations|
|Pennsylvania Vaccines for Children Program
Free vaccines for uninsured children