Disease: Childhood Immunization (Vaccination) Schedule

    Why do we need vaccines?

    None of us wants to see our children get sick. If we could, we would protect them from any illness, no matter how small -- even the sniffles.

    Now suppose you could make your child safe from some of the most deadly diseases in history...And suppose that at the same time you could also help protect your neighbors' children and other children around the country from the same diseases...And finally, suppose you could actually help to rid the world of some of these diseases that have been crippling and killing children for centuries.

    You can do all of these things with one of the easiest and yet most powerful health tools ever developed. You can make sure you immunize your children.

    How do vaccines work?

    When you receive a vaccine, it helps your body to create antibodies. Antibodies are the body's defenses that fight off any foreign substances (germs). Although your body can create antibodies on its own, many of the vaccine-preventable diseases cause severe illness and even death before enough antibodies are produced.

    Immunization (vaccination) schedule

    Vaccines work best when they are given at certain ages. For example, measles vaccine is not usually given until a child is at least 1 year old. If it is given earlier than that, it may not work as well. On the other hand, the DTaP vaccine should be given over a period of time in a series of properly spaced doses. More information about the specific diseases your child is vaccinated against is listed later in this article.

    Following is a description of the routine childhood immunization schedule. It is published each year by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    What childhood vaccines are recommended, and at what ages they should be given?

    Hepatitis B vaccine:
    1. First dose at birth before discharge
    2. Second dose at 1 to 2 months
    3. Third dose at 6 to 18 months
    Hib vaccine:
    1. First dose at 2 months
    2. Second dose at 4 months
    3. Third dose at 6 months (depending upon type of Hib vaccine given)
    4. Fourth dose at 12 to 15 months
    Inactivated polio vaccine:
    1. First dose at 2 months
    2. Second dose at 4 months
    3. Third dose at 6 to 18 months
    4. Fourth dose at 4 to 6 years
    DTaP vaccine:
    1. First dose at 2 months
    2. Second dose at 4 months
    3. Third dose at 6 months
    4. Fourth dose at 15 to 18 months
    5. Fifth dose at 4 to 6 years
    6. Tdap is recommended at 11 years
    Pneumococcal vaccine:
    1. First dose at 2 months
    2. Second dose at 4 months
    3. Third dose at 6 months
    4. Fourth dose at 12 to 18 months
    Rotavirus vaccine:
    1. First dose at 2 months
    2. Second dose at 4 months
    3. Third dose at 6 months (depending upon type of rotavirus vaccine given)
    Hepatitis A vaccine:
    1. First dose at 12 to 23 months
    2. Second dose at 6 to 18 months after the first dose
    Influenza vaccine:
    1. First dose at 6 months (requires a booster one month after initial vaccine)
    2. Annually after that
    MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine:
    1. First dose at 12 to 15 months
    2. Second dose at 4 to 6 years
    Varicella vaccine:
    1. First dose at 12 to 15 months
    2. Second dose at 4 to 6 years
    Meningococcal vaccine:
    1. First dose at 11 years
    2. Second dose at 16 years
    Human papillomavirus vaccine:
    1. First dose at 11 years
    2. Second dose two months after first dose
    3. Third dose six months after first dose

    What if your child misses a shot?

    For most vaccines, it is never too late to catch up on missed shots. Children who missed their first shots at 2 months of age can start later. Children who have gotten some of their shots and then fallen behind schedule can catch up without having to start over. If you have children who were not immunized when they were infants, or who have gotten behind schedule, contact your doctor or the health department clinic. They will help you get your children up to date on their immunizations.

    (NOTE: Don't postpone your child's immunizations just because you know he or she can catch up later. Every month a child goes without scheduled immunizations is a month that the child is not fully protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.)

    Combination vaccines

    A combination vaccine is more than one vaccine contained in a single shot. Doctors and parents both like them because they allow a child to get several vaccines at once without having to get as many injections. Several combination vaccines are already in use (for example, MMR, DTaP, Hib/HepB, DTaP/IPV/HepB), and more are under development.

    Vaccination checklist

    Rarely, a child should wait before getting certain vaccines or should not get them at all. Tell your doctor or nurse if any of these apply to your child on a day when an immunization visit is scheduled.

    1. Is your child very sick today? (He or she has more than a common cold, earache, etc.)
    2. Does your child have any severe (life-threatening) allergies?
    3. Has your child ever had a severe reaction after a vaccination?
    4. Does your child have a weakened immune system (because of diseases such as cancer or medications such as steroids)?
    5. Has your child received a transfusion or any other blood product recently?
    6. Has your child ever had convulsions or any kind of nervous system problem?

    What childhood vaccines are recommended, and at what ages they should be given?

    Hepatitis B vaccine:
    1. First dose at birth before discharge
    2. Second dose at 1 to 2 months
    3. Third dose at 6 to 18 months
    Hib vaccine:
    1. First dose at 2 months
    2. Second dose at 4 months
    3. Third dose at 6 months (depending upon type of Hib vaccine given)
    4. Fourth dose at 12 to 15 months
    Inactivated polio vaccine:
    1. First dose at 2 months
    2. Second dose at 4 months
    3. Third dose at 6 to 18 months
    4. Fourth dose at 4 to 6 years
    DTaP vaccine:
    1. First dose at 2 months
    2. Second dose at 4 months
    3. Third dose at 6 months
    4. Fourth dose at 15 to 18 months
    5. Fifth dose at 4 to 6 years
    6. Tdap is recommended at 11 years
    Pneumococcal vaccine:
    1. First dose at 2 months
    2. Second dose at 4 months
    3. Third dose at 6 months
    4. Fourth dose at 12 to 18 months
    Rotavirus vaccine:
    1. First dose at 2 months
    2. Second dose at 4 months
    3. Third dose at 6 months (depending upon type of rotavirus vaccine given)
    Hepatitis A vaccine:
    1. First dose at 12 to 23 months
    2. Second dose at 6 to 18 months after the first dose
    Influenza vaccine:
    1. First dose at 6 months (requires a booster one month after initial vaccine)
    2. Annually after that
    MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine:
    1. First dose at 12 to 15 months
    2. Second dose at 4 to 6 years
    Varicella vaccine:
    1. First dose at 12 to 15 months
    2. Second dose at 4 to 6 years
    Meningococcal vaccine:
    1. First dose at 11 years
    2. Second dose at 16 years
    Human papillomavirus vaccine:
    1. First dose at 11 years
    2. Second dose two months after first dose
    3. Third dose six months after first dose

    What if your child misses a shot?

    For most vaccines, it is never too late to catch up on missed shots. Children who missed their first shots at 2 months of age can start later. Children who have gotten some of their shots and then fallen behind schedule can catch up without having to start over. If you have children who were not immunized when they were infants, or who have gotten behind schedule, contact your doctor or the health department clinic. They will help you get your children up to date on their immunizations.

    (NOTE: Don't postpone your child's immunizations just because you know he or she can catch up later. Every month a child goes without scheduled immunizations is a month that the child is not fully protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.)

    Combination vaccines

    A combination vaccine is more than one vaccine contained in a single shot. Doctors and parents both like them because they allow a child to get several vaccines at once without having to get as many injections. Several combination vaccines are already in use (for example, MMR, DTaP, Hib/HepB, DTaP/IPV/HepB), and more are under development.

    Vaccination checklist

    Rarely, a child should wait before getting certain vaccines or should not get them at all. Tell your doctor or nurse if any of these apply to your child on a day when an immunization visit is scheduled.

    1. Is your child very sick today? (He or she has more than a common cold, earache, etc.)
    2. Does your child have any severe (life-threatening) allergies?
    3. Has your child ever had a severe reaction after a vaccination?
    4. Does your child have a weakened immune system (because of diseases such as cancer or medications such as steroids)?
    5. Has your child received a transfusion or any other blood product recently?
    6. Has your child ever had convulsions or any kind of nervous system problem?

    Source: http://www.rxlist.com

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