Immunization FAQs

What are vaccinations?

Vaccinations protect your child against serious diseases. Most vaccinations are given as a shot. The words “vaccination” and “immunization” mean the same thing.

What diseases do vaccines protect against?

Vaccines protect against measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), Hib disease, chickenpox, pneumococcal disease and seasonal influenza. Vaccines can’t prevent children from getting minor illnesses like colds, but they can keep children safe from many serious diseases. Without vaccinations, your child could get very sick..

Isn't all this talk about diseases just a way to scare parents so they'll bring their children in for shots?

No. Many of these diseases still kill people. From 1989 to 1991, more than 150 people in the United States died from measles and thousands more were permanently damaged. Children in the United States also continue to die from chickenpox. When children get measles, chickenpox, and other diseases that vaccines could have prevented, they can also suffer from brain damage, hearing loss, heart problems, and lung damage. Measles cases have increased in the United States over the last few years with 115 cases in 2010.

I don't know anybody who has had mumps or rubella. Why does my baby need these shots?

You might not think that these diseases are a serious threat today because you don’t see or hear much about them, but they still are around. If we stop vaccinating against these diseases, many more people will become infected. Vaccinating your child will keep him or her safe.

Are vaccinations safe?

Most vaccines cause only minor side effects, such as soreness where the shot was given or a slight fever. These side effects do not last long and are treatable. Serious reactions are very rare. Remember, if your child gets one of these dangerous childhood diseases, the risks of the disease are far greater than the risk of a serious vaccine reaction. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor or nurse

Do vaccines hurt?

Sometimes they hurt a little, and your baby may cry for a few minutes. There may be some swelling where your child was injected. However, protecting your child’s health is worth a few tears.

What if my child has a cold a fever, or is taking antibiotics? Can he or she still get vaccinated?

Yes. Your child can be vaccinated if he or she has a mild illness such as a cold, a slight fever, or is taking antibiotics. Talk to your doctor or nurse if you have questions.

How many times do I need to take my baby in for vaccinations?

A lot! Your baby needs at least five visits to the doctor for vaccinations before he or she is two years old. All these visits are necessary because there are eleven diseases your baby needs to be protected against and most require several doses for full protection. Your child will also need vaccinations between the ages of 4 and 6, and then again when he or she is 11-12.

How do I know when to take my baby in for shots?

If you are not sure, call your clinic or your local health department to find out when the next shots are due. Every time your child gets vaccinated, make sure you know when to bring him or her back for the next set of shots.

How do I keep track of my baby's shots?

You need a personal record card of your child’s immunizations.This card should be brought with you to all medical appointments. Whenever your child receives vaccinations, make sure your clinic updates your child’s shot record.

What if I miss an appointment? Does my baby have to get the shots all over again?

No. If your baby misses some vaccinations, it’s not necessary to start over. Your clinic will continue the shots from where the left off.

What if my child is older than two? Is it too late to get him or her vaccinated?

No. Although it’s best to have your child vaccinated as a baby, it’s never too late to start. If your baby did not receive his or her shots, now is the time to start.

What if I can't afford to get my child vaccinated?

Vaccinations are usually free for children when families can’t afford them. You can call 1-800-980-9431 or your local or state health department to find out where you can go for vaccinations. Your child’s health depends on it!

Does my newborn need shots?

Yes. In fact, your baby needs the first shot soon after delivery; then at 8 weeks of age the childhood series continues.

What vaccines does Oregon require?

Vaccines against hepatitis A and B, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, varicella, and polio are required. For children under 60 months of age, protection against Haemophilus influenza type b(Hib) disease is also required. You will need to make sure that almost all the doses are received by age 2. You’ll need to return to the clinic with your child several times. Doing so on time, by schedule is important. But if you forget, just come on in. Your child won’t need to restart (see immunization schedule).

Where are shots required?

Shots are required by law for children at baby-sitters, daycares, preschools, and schools. Nearly every place that cares for your child outside the home requires shots.

Where are shots required?

Shots are required by law for children at baby-sitters, daycares, preschools, and schools. Nearly every place that cares for your child outside the home requires shots.

Why are shots required?

Two reasons:

  • To protect your child.
  • To protect other children.

Shots prevent diseases that sometimes kill or permanently hurt children and adults. Measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, tetanus, diphtheria, Haemophilus influenza type b(Hib), and hepatitis B can each be prevented.

What records are required?

At our clinic you’ll get a yellow shot record. Keep it. File it. Don’t lose it. You’ll always want to keep it and be able to find it. You’ll need it. Take it to your clinic when you go. The doctor will fill it in. This record is very important! Every daycare, preschool, school need information about the shots your child received. They must keep a form on file that shows how well your child is immunized. they must report once a year to their local health department. This form is called the “Certification of Immunization Status” (CIS) form. Every shot your child receives needs to be written on this form. You’ll take information from your yellow shot record and put it on the form.

What should be on the form (CIS) the school/facility keeps on file?

The name of your child, your name, address, date of your child’s birth, and the month and year each shot was received.

What if my child hasn't had any shots or only a few of those required?

At least one shot against each disease will be needed before enrolling at a daycare, preschool, or school. Your child may be kept out of school if she or he needs more doses, or if information is missing.

What if my religion forbids immunization?

Beginning on March 1, 2014, an Oregon law was signed requiring parents to receive education on the benefits and risks before signing a Nonmedical Vaccine Exemption.  The education can be from their healthcare provider or from viewing the online vaccine education module at  The Certificate of Immunization Status from can be obtained from your child’s school.  It must be completed, signed and returned to the school or childcare.


What do I do if my child is too sick for shots?

You’ll find a place on the (CIS) form “medical exemptions.” This must be signed by your child’s doctor. The reason for the exemption must be clearly stated and must meet national standards. The exemption must be approved by the local health department.

Where can I get the shots?

You can drop in for shots any time during office hours Monday – Friday 8:30 -12:00 & 1:00 –5:00. No appointments are necessary