Q My son is going to need an extra dose of hepatitis A vaccine. At his new pediatrician’s visit, he received a dose only 4 months after his first dose-the new doctor didn’t have the records, and I didn’t remember the date. Now the doctor says he needs an extra dose. Is this going to hurt him?

A Your son does indeed need to get another dose of hepatitis A vaccine to get good protection from the infection. This vaccine is routinely recommended to be given starting at age 12 months, using two doses separated by at least six months. Since his second dose was given too early, it may not give the needed “boost” to your son’s immunity, leaving him vulnerable.

There is no extra risk for him getting this dose, beyond the usual small risk of minor side effects like fever and pain at the injection site.

Many states keep a state-wide registry with immunization records, so practitioners can easily retrieve vaccine histories to ensure that the correct vaccines are given at the correct times. Still, even when this system is in place it only helps with information about vaccines given or recorded in one state. It is always best for parents
to keep a copy of all immunizations their child has received. This record should be brought to all well-check appointments and especially to all new doctor appointments.

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Send your questions to QandA@pedsforparents.com or Pediatrics for Parents, PO Box 219, Gloucester, MA 01931. Please keep them general in nature as we can’t give specific advice nor suggest treatment for your child. All such questions should be asked of your child’s doctor.
7/30/12

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From issue: 27/05-06