12 answers

Are 4 Shots Necessary for a 5 Year Old

My 5 year old daughter has made every well baby visit with her pediatrician since she was born. Her last set of shots were given to her as a 1.5 year old. Now they want to give her 4 separate shots (vaccines) containing 8 or 9 "diseases" (ie. MMR is 3 diseases). She needs these to start kindergarten in the fall. They include DTP, Polio, MMR, Chicken Pox, and maybe Prevnar. My question is, is it really necessary for her to receive all these shots at one time? Not only will it will be painful, but it will put a lot of pressure on her immune system to increase antibodies. I know that's what the doctors around here do for all children, but would it be better to give them to her once every two months, for 4 treatments? Are there any other options?

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Thanks for all your great advice, websites, and book references. While I don't know if they're entirely safe, I do believe that vaccinations are important. I discussed the schedule with my pediatrician, and she was very supportive of holding off on some of them. I couldn't imagine getting 5 at once, much less my daughter, unless it was absolutely necessary. We have 3 more to go, so I think I will ask about getting 2 at the same time by two nurses. That sounds like a great idea!

Featured Answers

Below is a link to a great article on vaccines and which one are the most important.


I know state law varies, but here in colorado, you can opt out of any and all vaccinations by signing the back of the vaccination record chart. You don't have to have vaccinations for kindergarten, or any school.

Thought that might be helpful to know.

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HHMMM..... All of mine only had one booster shot for school amd I beleive it is a tetnas(sp?) shot, sounds odd that he would need so many if he was kept regular, hold on I think they get another set of shots around the age of 2 and then only need the booster for school...wonder if that is the problem. And you can break the shots up if you choose to maybe hold off on the chicken pox until right before school, none of mine get them until they are 5 and then the "danger" rises so if they haven't got them I get the shot. I would also just get all of the shots done and over with so that way they weren't always assumiing everytime they go to the DR he is going to give them a shot, go with your heart, most shots have to be given within a certain time frame of the ones before or they become invalid and have to start over, sit down and really talk to your Dr and see what his reasoning is to give all four at once, good luck!

Hi J., I too have thought the same thing before. My insurance company would not pay for me to go back, it needed to be done in the same visit. I would check with them to see what they will pay for. If they don't pay, find out how much it is as self-pay at the office. They should only charge you for a nurse visit for just shots. Good luck!!

Below is a link to a great article on vaccines and which one are the most important.


I know state law varies, but here in colorado, you can opt out of any and all vaccinations by signing the back of the vaccination record chart. You don't have to have vaccinations for kindergarten, or any school.

Thought that might be helpful to know.

i think your right to question this..i would do some investigating. find out from the school what is required by when and then maybe self pay at the health dept. for the shots on a schedule that you feel better with. i think at the health dept you can choose the brand you use and maybe you can get vac. that aren't combined(seperate measles mumps rebella) and space them out. also look in to your options as far as opting out for religious or ethical reasons and there is some thing called a conditional vaccine schedule through the health dep(at least in mt.) where you can sign some paper work where you agree to give you child certain shots by a certain time line. they are allowed in the classroom as long as the agreement is followed through on. you have options, you just have to search them out and beware that you will probably get attitude from the powers that be for not doing htings their way. go with you gut and good luck, N.

Hey J.-

My pediatrician was great about "splitting the shots up"-meaning we never have done all the shots at once. Maybe hard on the child to go through more than one visit-but I asked about the shots, for example I THINK I did the polio and DTAP together. And then did the MMR-depends how many "agents" the shot carried. Also, one shot "stung" and I saved that one for the last-as my child remembered that one, versus another just left her leg sore and did not seem to bother her receiving (and she was agreeable to coming back for the last set). I also took her to "Build-A-Bear" after and that was a hit. I know it was a bribe, but it helped!

Good luck-remember you are your child's only advocate on this, and there are options on how to go about it!


A. W.

Here is the thing, doctors would rather be safe than sorry and not mix the meds. Some doctor's won't mix any vaccinations, which would make for a lot more injections. Most will only mix certain ones or so many in an individual injection. So you can't get just one giant shot. My son had to do the same. He then needed a penecillian shot nearly a year later and was just as upset about the one shot as the multiple injections. Children are only born with two fears, loud noises and falling. The rest are taught by environment & life experiences. Try not to get too worked up emotionally, she'll sense it is an issue. Don't focus on the number of shots. Be sure to give a dose of Motrin/Ibuprofen etc before leaving for the doctor and then a dose of Tylenol after you get home. (unless of course she suffers any allergies.) This will help with any possible discomfort. Take an ice pack or two with you, it is likely they will do two in one thigh and two in the other. Get some cool band-aids, let her help pick them out. Just in case the ones from the doc are plain. Kids are resilient, more than we think. If you look you can find there are plenty of reasons not to immunize; however, I can't imagine watching my child suffering from any of the illnesses being vaccinated for. Vaccines are safe, nothing in this world is perfect. If there was a problem with vaccines or giving that quantity children would be dropping like flies. They aren't, in fact there are significantly less children who experience moderate to severe reactions to the vaccines than those who were actually suffering and perishing from the actual illnesses prior to vaccines. My advice is to get it done all at once, don't prolong the agony. Come up with some kind of treat for after to help shift the mood of the day. The more physical activity she does post shot the less likely she have discomfort in her thighs. I hope this has helped. Good luck and I'm sure your doctor will support you if you want to break them up into separate visits. If you decide to do that you would typically give a schedule you've worked out with the doctor to the school district and they generally approve any reasonable plan of action.

I would contend that the chicken pox vaccine really isn't necessary. Some would argue with me, but my theory is that I had chicken pox and I never had any ill side effects. I would also look into the requirements of your district, because I don't think that Prevnar is one that is required to go to school. I think that is another one that you can opt out of. She is your child and the doc doesn't have to do anything that you don't give consent for. Good luck.

If you weigh her fear of doctors with the horror of one bad visit, only you can decide which route is best for her. If your insurance doesn't cover a return visit, you can always go to the health clinic. We had to do that due to travels, and I just find out what brand they use. If it's one that my doctor recommends, I'm okay. I'm definitely going to read the book recommended by the other mom before the next baby comes!

While it is scary to think of you 5 yr old gettingthat many shots, think of the alternative also. What diseases ar these shots going to prevent? Are they worse than the shots themselves? Would you rather her suffer the shots or the disease? In most cases the shot is less traumatic. I have always questioned vaccines. But when it comes down to it, i wold usually rather have my kids get the shot than the disease. Problems with accines are usually do to an underlying medical condition, allergies, other health problems. Make sure your daughter is not sick when she gets them, it lessens the risk. I also weight as long as I can so that they are as old as possible. My sons preschool recently tried to make me get his kindergarten shots. He turns 5 in Sept, but because his b-day is so late in the month, he won't start kindergarten for another year. All I had to do to get the school off my back is get a note from the DR stating that I would get his shots when he actualy starts kindergarten. I also reccommend doing them all at once, it is less traumatic that way. In my dr's office they have 2 nurses give the shots and they do them at exactly the same time. If you can get your dr to do that she will only feel the shots 2 times instead of 4 times, less pain, less trauma. And you don't want her to associate every dr visit with pain, or they will becaome a traumatic and horrible experience, no matter what the visit is for. Whatever you decid, your dr should support you, you are the parent, you know your child better than anyone else. I have worked with dr's for 16 yrs, and my mom has all of my life, they usually have a good reason for doing things the way they do it. Find out what it is. These diseases will come back if people don't vaccinate. Research the vaccines. Make sure they have no mercury in them, most vaccines no longer do. If your religious, pray. Then go with your gut, and what you feel is best for your child, not whas bet for others, including the parents.

Hey J.!
Ok,I would look at the NVIC.com, vaccineinfo.net, tetrahedron.org website to even consider if it would be worth giving them to her in th 1st place. I know in CO to send your children to school you can deny the vaccines. On the card that they give you to fill out, on the back should be a place that states "for personal, religious or other reasons I choose not to vaccinate". As a sister to a child that has been killed because of the "all knowing" western medicine system, my family and I have a hard time trusting doctors. My mom, my sisters and I dont vaccinate because of all the info that is out there proving the harm that they cause. Good luck, I am open to you for any additional info.

It was not painful for my daughter who got hers this past summer. It is actually much easier for them then in infancy. The vaccines she got in infancy weren't full strength and they need this last round to ensure they are protected. The chicken pox vaccine is solely meant to wear off too in a few years when given the first time around. The good news is no more vaccinations needed until they are 12.
Talk to your Pediatrician but I believe the MMR shot is a combination shot. I would just talk to your Dr., scary facts are that measles are coming back again due to some choosing not to vaccinate, which puts a child that hasn't had the booster back in danger of getting it again as well as adults that need boosters.

I just got my DTP shot as it even is recommended for adults to get reimmunized now and as a mom I surely cannot afford to get sick.

YES, there are options! Your instincts are right, 4 shots in one sitting is ALOT for anyone to handle, let alone a 5 year old. They will not kick her out of school for not getting them all because in the state of Colorado you can sign a philisophical exemption. Just take a look at this link:
Government concedes a link between autism and vaccinations:
I also suggest reading "What Your Doc Won't Tell You About Childhood Vaccinations" by Dr. Stephanie Cave. This book is written by a family practice doc who agrees that vaccines are SAFER when not given by the recommended CDC schedule, i.e. 2-5 shots per visit.

C. McCollett, CBE, CLD, MWA
The Westside Birth Connection
Marketing Chair, Colorado Doulas Association

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