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. Rotavirus (RV) Rotavirus causes stomach and intestinal problems. Infection with this virus can lead to severe diarrhea and dehydration. Children need three doses of the RV vaccine at 2, 4 and 6 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 (IPV) 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: Measles. This virus can lead to brain swelling and pneumonia. It also can be fatal. Mumps. This is a viral infection that can cause brain swelling and deafness. Rubella. The rubella virus can have devastating effects if contracted during pregnancy. It can lead to birth defects, stillbirth, and miscarriage. Children need two doses of MMR: the first dose between 12 and 15 months and the second dose between 4 and 6 years of age. Varicella (Chickenpox) The varicella vaccine protects children from chickenpox. Kids who get chickenpox develop a rash, headache and fever. In severe cases, blisters that form on the skin become infected. Brain swelling and pneumonia can also develop. Children need two doses of the varicella vaccine. They get the first dose when they're 12 to 15 months old and the second when they're 4 to 6 years old. Hepatitis A (Hep A) The hepatitis A virus can lead to liver failure. It can also cause problems involving the blood, kidneys and pancreas. Children need two doses of the hep A vaccine: the first dose between 12 and 23 months of age and the second dose 6 to 18 months later. Influenza (Flu) The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the strains of the flu scientists predict will be most common that year. The flu can be dangerous for children. In some cases it can even be life threatening. Severe flu complications like pneumonia are most common among children younger than 2 years. Health experts recommend children be vaccinated against the flu every year starting at 6 months of age. Babies less than 6 months old are too young to be vaccinated. They can still get the flu, so it’s important for people in contact with the child to be vaccinated. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) HPV is a very common sexually transmitted virus. It can lead to certain types of cancer and genital warts. The HPV vaccine can protect young people from most of the cancers linked to the virus. It's recommended for all preteen boys and girls. The goal is to protect them before they are exposed to HPV. The HPV vaccine protects against both genital warts and several forms of cancer (cervical, vulvar, vaginal, anal, penile, and throat). Kids should get the first shot of the three-dose vaccine when they are 11 to 12 years old. They get a second shot one or two months later, and the third shot six months after the first. Older children and adults can be vaccinated if they did not receive it at an earlier age. It is approved for use until age 46. Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine Meningococcal bacteria can cause serious infections. Complications from these infections can cause permanent disability and in some cases, death. Meningococcal disease is most common among young people 16 to 21 years old. Children should get this vaccine twice—first when they are 11 to 12 years old, and again at age 16. Be sure to check in with your pediatrician’s office for the latest information and guidelines on vaccination and on particular vaccines.