Immunizations protect your child against several serious, life-threatening diseases. Your child should have shots according to the following schedule. If your child's shots are not up-to-date, call your healthcare provider's office for an appointment.
ROUTINE IMMUNIZATION SCHEDULE FOR INFANTS AND CHILDREN
Age of Child Immunization
birth to 2 weeks Hep B
2 months DTaP, IPV, Hib, Hep B, PCV13, rotavirus
4 months DTaP, IPV, Hib, PCV13, rotavirus
6 months DTaP, Hib, Hep B, PCV13, rotavirus
6 to 18 months IPV
6 months to 18 years Influenza (yearly)
12 to 15 months MMR, Hib, Var, PCV13
12 to 18 months DTaP, Hep A
18 to 36 months Hep A
4 to 6 years DTaP, IPV, MMR, Var
11 to 12 years Tdap, MCV4, HPV*
* (Boys/Men aged 13 to 21 years HPV)
(Girls/Women aged 13 to 26 years HPV)
Explanation of abbreviations:
DTaP = diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough)
Hib = Haemophilus influenzae type b
Hep A = hepatitis A
Hep B = hepatitis B
HPV = human papillomavirus
MCV4 = meningococcal conjugate vaccine, 4-valent
MMR = measles, mumps, rubella
IPV = inactivated poliovirus
Tdap = tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis for 11 years old and up
Var = chickenpox (varicella)
PCV13 = pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, 13-valent
Reference: American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on
Infectious Diseases, Recommended Childhood
Web Site: http://www.cispimmunize.org
DESCRIPTIONS OF IMMUNIZATIONS
Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP/Tdap) vaccine
Diphtheria is a serious infection of the throat that can block the airway and cause severe trouble breathing. Tetanus is a nerve disease caused by bacteria that get into a wound. Whooping cough is a dangerous disease, especially for babies. The risk of suffering and death caused by whooping cough is far greater than the possible side effects of the shot. A child who has not been immunized against pertussis has a chance of 1 in 3000 of getting whooping cough. In contrast, a child who gets the shot is estimated to have a chance of 1 in 2 million or less of having neurological damage from the vaccine.
If your child is between 11 and 18 years of age and has had a tetanus (Td) booster, he or she may need to have a tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) booster as well. Ask your healthcare provider if your child needs this shot.
Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine
Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. The disease causes high fever, a rash, often a severe cough and occasionally infection of the brain. Outbreaks of measles have made it necessary for children to have 2 MMR vaccines. They should have the first shot when they are 12 to 15 months old and the second when they are 4 to 6 years old. Mumps causes swelling of many body organs, including the salivary glands in the cheeks. Mumps can cause deafness. Rubella is a viral disease that damages a fetus. It can cause the soon-to-be-born to have nervous system abnormalities, heart disease and eye disease.
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine
Haemophilus influenzae is a type of bacteria that causes several life-threatening diseases in young children (such as meningitis, epiglottitis, and pneumonia). Before the vaccine was available, over 3800 children per year in the US became mentally retarded, blind, or deaf, or got cerebral palsy as a result of the disease. The Hib vaccine does not protect against flu and meningitis caused by viruses.
Hepatitis B vaccine (Hep B)
Vaccination against hepatitis B prevents this type of hepatitis and the severe liver damage that can occur 20 or 30 years after a person is first infected. More than 5000 adults die each year in the U.S. from hepatitis-related liver cancer or cirrhosis. The younger the age when the infection occurs, the greater the risk of serious problems.
If you have an older child who was not vaccinated against hepatitis B as an infant, ask your provider whether he or she should have the shots. Your child needs a total of 3 hepatitis B shots.
The polio vaccine protects children from this now rare but crippling disease. The inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is recommended.
Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe infection in the intestines, usually causing diarrhea. Most cases occur between 6 months and 2 years of age. Rotavirus vaccines should not be given to infants aged after age 8 months. The rotavirus vaccine given early in life will prevent severe rotavirus disease, which can cause dehydration or death.
Chickenpox (varicella) vaccine
The chickenpox vaccine is usually given between the ages of 12 and 15 months, and a second dose should be given at age 4 to 6 years. It can be given to older children if they have not had the vaccine or the disease yet. Children age 13 or older should get 2 doses at least 4 weeks apart.
This vaccine is 70% to 90% effective in preventing chickenpox. If your child had the vaccine, but still gets chickenpox, it will be a milder form of the disease. By getting the chickenpox vaccine, you can reduce the chance of missed work and school, skin infections, medical costs, and getting shingles later in life.
Pneumococcal (PCV13) vaccine
The PCV13 vaccine protects against the 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria that cause pneumonia, bloodstream infections, and meningitis. The vaccine also prevents some ear infections caused by pneumococci.
The PCV13 vaccine is recommended for infants and toddlers. Catch-up vaccination can be given to children up to age 5.
Human papillomavirus vaccine
HPV (human papillomavirus) is a sexually transmitted virus that causes nearly all cases of genital warts and cervical cancer. Evidence indicates that the HPV vaccine will prevent 90% of genital warts and 70% of cervical cancers. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends routine vaccination against HPV for both boys and girls at age 11 or 12 to protect against genital warts and certain cancers and to help reduce the chances of spreading the virus. Boys/men aged 13 to 21 and girls/women 13 to 26 years of age who have not yet been vaccinated or completed the vaccine series are recommended to receive "catch up" shots. The vaccine is given in a three-dose series spread over several months.
It is recommended that all healthy children age 6 months to 18 years old get the influenza vaccine. Those less than 2 years old are at a greater risk of getting severely ill or needing to go to the hospital because of the flu. The influenza vaccine is also recommended each year for children ages 6 months and older if they have certain medical risk factors. Caregivers of young children should also get the influenza vaccine each year. The vaccine can be given to anyone to avoid getting the flu. One type of influenza vaccine can be sprayed into the nose. This vaccine can be given to people over the age of 2 years who do not have asthma or recurrent wheezing.
Hepatitis A vaccine
The hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all children over 1 year of age. It should also be considered for older children and teens in some states and regions, and for certain people at high risk. Talk to your healthcare provider or local public health department for more information.
Meningococcal disease can often be prevented in adolescents and young adults by a vaccine. Meningococcal conjugate vaccine is recommended for all 11 to 12-year olds, teens starting high school, or young adults before they move into college dorms.
Some vaccinations may be given to children and even adults while other vaccines have upper age limits. Check with your doctor if you have questions about whether your child should receive catch-up vaccination.
Reasons not to vaccinate
Talk to your provider before getting your child vaccinated if:
1. Your child had an allergic reaction to a previous vaccine.
2. Your child has a progressive neurologic disease. The pertussis vaccine (DTaP) should not be given if a child has a progressive neurologic disease. Your child can still have the tetanus and diphtheria vaccine without the pertussis vaccine.
3. Your child has immune system problems. Children with immune systems that are weakened by certain diseases or medicines should not get live virus vaccines (such as chickenpox, oral polio, or MMR). A live virus vaccine can cause the actual disease if the immune system is very weak.
4. Your child has egg allergies. Children who have a severe allergy to eggs should not receive the influenza vaccine. However, children who are allergic to eggs can receive all other routine immunizations. Although the measles and mumps vaccines are grown in chick cells, the egg proteins are removed from these vaccines. The vaccines can be given without having your child tested for an egg allergy.
Unwarranted reasons to delay or avoid vaccination
Some children in the U.S. have not received all of the recommended immunizations. The following conditions are NOT reasons to delay or avoid immunizations.
Your child CAN still get immunizations if:
- Your child had soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site after a previous DTaP shot.
- Your child had a fever of less than 105°F (40.5°C) after a previous DTaP shot.
- Your child has a mild illness such as a cold, cough, or diarrhea without a fever.
- Your child is recovering from a mild illness such as a cold, cough, or diarrhea.
- Your child has recently been exposed to an infectious disease.
- Your child is taking antibiotics.
- Your child was premature.
- Your child is breast-feeding.
- Your child has allergies (unless it is an egg allergy).
- Your family has a history of seizures or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).