What vaccinations does my child need?

Immunizations save lives. Thanks to vaccinations, diseases like smallpox and polio have been eradicated in the US, and no more children will needlessly suffer from these crippling conditions. Some diseases, like mumps, have been on the verge of eradication, before they returned because not enough people were vaccinated against it.

Getting a vaccine shot only takes a moment, but most immunizations will last a lifetime. Baby will receive most of the first doses for her vaccines in the first year of her life. Most vaccines require a second or third dose before Baby is properly immunized, but the schedule for the first doses looks like this:

Birth

  • Hepatitis B: A serious disease that attacks the liver. When Baby is born, she should receive a vaccination for hepatitis B right away. This vaccine will be administered in three or four doses over the next six months.

Two months old

  • Pertussis: Also known as the whooping cough, this infection affects the respiratory tract and is highly contagious. It’s especially dangerous for infants. The vaccine for pertussis is administered in one shot along with tetanus and diphtheria, and is known as DTaP. DTaP is administered at 2, 4, and 6 months, and then a booster is administered between 12-15 months. 
  • Diphtheria: An infection that affects tissue in the respiratory system, making it hard to breathe and potentially damaging to the heart, kidney, and nerves. The vaccine for diphtheria is administered in one shot along with tetanus and pertussis, and is known as DTaP. DTaP is administered at 2, 4, and 6 months, and then a booster is administered between 12-15 months. 
  • Haemophilus influenzae (Hib): A kind of bacteria that causes illness and infection, mainly in babies and young children. It’s unrelated to the flu, which children should be immunized against yearly starting at six months old. The Hib vaccine is administered in doses at 2, 4, and possibly 6 months, as well as a booster between 12-15 months.
  • Pneumococcal conjugate: A disease that can cause severe infections to the ear, lungs, blood, spinal cord, and brain. Children under two are at high risk of infection. Children are administered doses at 2, 4, and 6 months, with a booster between 12-15 months.
  • Polio: A disease that can cause paralysis and permanent disability, but which widespread vaccination has eradicated in the US. Still, it’s important to get vaccinated against polio to prevent it from returning. The polio vaccine is administered at 2 months, 4 months, between 6-18 months, and then a booster dose at 4-6 years.
  • Rotavirus (RV): A virus that causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines, especially in infants and young children. RV is administered in doses at 2, 4, and possibly 6 months, depending on the brand of vaccination used.
  • Tetanus: An infection causing painful muscle spasms that can make it hard to breathe, break bones, and lead to serious complications. The vaccine for tetanus is administered in one shot along with diphtheria and pertussis, and is known as DTaP. DTaP is administered at 2, 4, and 6 months, and then a booster is administered between 12-15 months. 

12-15 months old

  • Measles: A highly contagious virus that can cause fever, rash, runny nose, red eyes, and serious health complications, especially in young children.
  • Mumps: A contagious disease that causes fever, headaches, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, and swollen glands.
  • Rubella: A contagious disease that can cause rash, fever, headaches, pink eye, cough, runny nose, and swollen lymph nodes.
  • Varicella: A highly contagious disease, also known as the chicken pox, that causes rash, itching, tiredness, and fever. The disease is especially serious for babies. 

Similarly to DTaP, these last four diseases are vaccinated against in one shot, which is administered the first time between 12-15 months, and the second time at 4-6 years.

Having your child immunized according to this schedule is the best way to protect your child from these diseases and infections. If you start late or fall behind on Baby‘s vaccines, your healthcare provider will put you on a catch-up immunization schedule to get her vaccinated as soon as possible.

It’s normal for children to sleep a lot after getting an immunization, and they might not be particularly hungry after. If you can, time the immunization right before a feeding so that they can eat and fall asleep after.

If you have any questions at all about immunizations, you should have a conversation with your little one’s pediatrician or other healthcare provider rather than relying on any single online source.


Sources
  • “Recommended immunization schedule for persons ages 0 through 18 years.” CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. February 1, 2016. Web.
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