Vaccination Decisions for Parents

boy getting vaccine

Vaccination is a medical procedure that carries a risk of injury or death. As a parent, it is your responsibility to become educated about the benefits and risks of vaccines in order to make the most informed, responsible vaccination decisions.

Your doctor is required by law to provide you with vaccine benefit/risk information materials before your child is vaccinated. Consumer groups, including the National Vaccine Information Center, worked with government health agencies to develop parent information booklets on each mandated vaccine. Ask your doctor for the booklet and take time to read it before your child is vaccinated.

You may also ask your doctor to show you the information insert provided by the drug company which manufactured the vaccine(s) your child is scheduled to receive.

Your doctor is required by law to keep a permanent record of all vaccinations given, including the vaccine manufacturer’s name and lot number. Ask for a copy of the doctor’s record on vaccinations given to your child to keep for your records.

Your doctor is required by law to report all adverse events, including injuries and deaths, which occur within 30 days after vaccination to federal health authorities. If your doctor refuses to report a reaction following vaccination, you have the right to report to the government yourself. (To obtain a postage-paid VAERS adverse reaction form, see the VAERS website at, or call 800-822-7967.)

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 (VICP) had compensated nearly 1,000 families at a cost of $600 million.

For additional information on the VICP’s compensation program, see their website at or contact them at Parklawn Building Room 8A-46, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857 or 800-338-2382. Parents may apply for reimbursement of vaccine damages after they have filed a claim with VAERS.

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