Vaccination Decisions for Parents

4. If your child is left permanently brain damaged or dies as a result of a vaccine reaction, you may be entitled to benefits under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986.

By fall 1995, the federal vaccine injury compensation program had compensated nearly 1,000 families at a cost of $600 million.

DO:

Become educated about childhood diseases and vaccines. You have the ultimate responsibility for your child's health and well-being, and you, not your doctor or state or federal health officials, will live with, and be responsible for, the consequences of your decision.

Ask your doctor to give your child a physical exam to make sure your child is healthy before you permit vaccination. A sick child can be at increased risk for having a vaccine reaction.

Write down your child's personal and family medical history listing major illnesses and diseases or medical conditions, especially previous reactions to vaccinations, and have it included in your child's permanent medical records. Before permitting vaccination of your child, ask your doctor if any of these conditions will put your child at risk for having a vaccine reaction. A child who has had a previous severe reaction to a vaccination can be especially at risk for even more severe reactions if more vaccine is given. If you are not satisfied with the answers you are given, get a second opinion.

Monitor your child closely after vaccination. Call your doctor if you suspect a reaction. If your doctor is not concerned and you are, take your child to an emergency room.

Obtain a copy of your state mandatory vaccination laws. Become educated about state vaccine requirements, your rights and legal exemptions to vaccination.

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