Immunization Schedule for Children
Many serious diseases now can be prevented with the help of childhood vaccines. Thanks to vaccines, most people in the United States have never seen the effects of diseases like polio and diphtheria firsthand. Vaccinating children is the best way to keep them from getting seriously ill. Children are protected when they get these vaccinations from birth to age 16.
Hepatitis B (Hep B)
Hepatitis B is a virus that causes liver disease. The hepatitis B virus may not cause symptoms. However, it can lead to long-term liver infection, liver failure, and liver cancer.
Children need three doses of the hepatitis B vaccine. They need two doses before they turn 2 months old plus a third dose between 6 and 18 months of age.
Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (DTaP)
This combination vaccine protects children against three serious illnesses:
Diphtheria. This is a bacterial infection. It can lead to swelling of the heart, heart failure, coma, paralysis, and death.
Tetanus. This is another life-threatening disease caused by bacteria.
Pertussis (whooping cough). This is a serious lung infection. It can lead to pneumonia and death.
Children need five doses of the DTaP vaccine. Doctors give the first three doses at 2, 4 and 6 months of age. They give the fourth dose between 15 and 18 months. Children get the last dose between 4 and 6 years of age.
At 11 years old, children also need a separate dose of the Tdap vaccine. Tdap also protects against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, but it has reduced doses of the diphtheria and pertussis vaccines compared to the DTap vaccine.
Polio is a viral infection. It can cause permanent paralysis and even death in some cases.
Children need four doses of the polio vaccine. They get the first two doses at 2 and 4 months of age. They get the third dose between 6 and 18 months of age. Doctors give the final dose when children are 4 to 6 years old.
Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib)
The Hib bacteria can cause several illnesses. One is bacterial meningitis. That's an infection of the covering around the brain and spinal cord. Another is pneumonia. Hib bacteria can also cause epiglottitis, which is severe swelling in the throat. It can cause other infections too.
Children need four doses of the Hib vaccine. They get the first three doses at 2, 4 and 6 months of age and the fourth dose when they're 12 to 15 months old.
Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV)
The PCV vaccine protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria. Every year in the United States, pneumococcal disease causes thousands of infections. They include blood and ear infections, pneumonia, and meningitis. Children younger than 2 years old are at greater risk than older children.
Children need four doses of PCV. They should have the first three doses at 2, 4 and 6 months of age. They have the fourth dose when they're 12 to 15 months old.
Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
The MMR vaccine protects against three diseases and their complications: