Vaccination Guide For Parents

Below is a suggested list of vaccinations for children. Be sure to follow the dates and guidelines directed by your healthcare provider. Many times, these vaccines are combined to minimize injections. Ask for a vaccine record book and take it to every visit to your healthcare provider.

Hepatitis B (HepB):  protects against a virus that attacks the liver. This virus can lead to scarring and cancer of the liver. HepB is spread through blood, body fluids, such as semen and saliva, or through sharing personal items, like a toothbrush or razor.

Healthy babies who weigh at least 4.4 pounds receive the first dose at birth, before leaving the hospital. The remaining two are given by 18 months. Children 18 years and younger who have not been immunized can get the three injections separately over a 6- month period.

Diphtheria, Tetanus & Pertussis (DTaP):  protects against three bacterial diseases. Respiratory diphtheria causes sore throat, fever and swollen neck glands. Tetanus, or lockjaw, causes muscle tightening and jaw ” locking, ” which makes swallowing difficult. Pertussis, or whooping cough, causes coughing spells.

Injections are usually given at 2, 4, 6 and 15-18 months and 4-6 years old. The first booster of this vaccine, called Tdap, is recommended for children at 11-12 years, and boosters of Td vaccine are needed every 10 years thereafter.

Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV7):  protects against serious blood, lung and brain infections, such as meningitis. These bacteria are spread through coughing or sneezing.

Babies should receive the vaccine at 2, 4, 6 and 12-15 months old.

Haemophilus influenzae Type b (Hib):  protects against bacteria that can cause meningitis, pneumonia and bone infections. (Despite its name, this vaccine does not protect against viral influenza, or the flu.)

Vaccine is given as three or four injections at 2, 4, 6 and 12-15 months old. Depending on the brand of vaccine, the 6-month dose may not be needed; ask your healthcare provider

Polio (IPV): protects against a virus that paralyzes muscles. This virus enters the body through the mouth.

The vaccine should be given at 2, 4 and 6-18 months and 4-6 years old

Rotavirus (RV):  protects against a virus of the digestive tract. It is the most common cause of vomiting and diarrhea in children. RV is spread by oral contact with infected stool, or feces, or by being around other infected children.

The vaccine should be given at 2, 4 and 6 months

Influenza:  protects against a virus that infects the lungs. Typically, influenza causes fever, body aches, fatigue, loss of appetite, dry cough and sore throat. It is spread by coughing and sneezing.

There is a shot and nasal-spray form of the vaccine. Children 6-59 months of age, individuals within the same house, family members and caretakers should be vaccinated. Those, healthy and nonpregnant who are 5 years through 49 years of age, can receive the nasal-spray form of the vaccine. Children younger than 9 need to receive 2 doses during the first season they receive the vaccine; it is especially important for caregivers of children younger than 6 months to get vaccinated since these children are too young for influenza vaccination.

Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR):  protects against three viruses. Measles cause a rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation and fever. Mumps cause fever, headache and swollen glands. Rubella, or German measles, causes a rash, fever and arthritis. These diseases are transmitted through the air or by being around other infected people.

Children should be vaccinated at 12-15 months and 4-6 years old. There is a combination vaccine for MMR and chickenpox for children 12 months through 12 years of age.

Hepatitis A (HepA):  protects against a virus that causes liver disease. HepA can cause a ” flu-like ” illness, jaundice, or yellowing of the skin, and diarrhea. This virus is found in stools.

Vaccinations should begin at 1 year. Two separate doses are given at least 6 months apart

Chickenpox (Varicella):  protects against a contagious viral infection that causes an itchy rash, fever and fatigue. The most common problem is a bacterial skin infection from scratching the rash or blisters. It is spread from person to person through the air or by contact with fluid from chickenpox blisters.

Children should be vaccinated at 12-15 months and 4-6 years old. There is a combination vaccine for MMR and chickenpox for children 12 months through 12 years old.

Resources:

Immunization Action Coalition: Immunizations for Babieshttp://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4010.pdf

– Compiled by Maria D’Alessandro, editorial intern.

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