Ask AF: Keeping a Child's Immunizations on Track

If your child is behind on his immunization schedule, how fast should you try to make up for lost time?

Q: We recently adopted a 15-month-old child, and were told we need to “catch up” with his immunizations. How quickly should we proceed?


A: Proceed at the pace that is right for you. Vaccinations can be spread out, but I would advise against spreading them too far apart, for two reasons — you’re starting a little later than is generally recommended, and you don’t want your child to fall far behind on the immunization schedule (see recommended schedules at Also, keep in mind that any shot is traumatizing to a child. Giving vaccines at the rate of one per week increases the risk that the child will anticipate the weekly visit, crying as you pull into the parking lot of the doctor’s office. For a child, there is little difference, psychologically, between one shot and many. Thus, spreading out the immunizations over too long a period may simply lead your child to develop a serious “doctor phobia.”

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