Immunizations - Childhood Immunizations
Your child's doctor may suggest other shots if your child
is at higher risk than other children for certain health problems. These may include:
Meningococcal conjugate(What is a PDF document?)
This shot protects against
a bacteria that causes
meningitis and blood infections (sepsis).
Who should get it?
- Children who have a higher risk than other children for getting and having severe problems from meningitis need at least two shots. This includes children ages 2 months and older who have certain
immune system problems, children who have a damaged or missing
spleen, and children who live in or will travel to areas
of the world where the disease is common.
Children who remain at high risk need routine booster shots starting a few years after their first doses of meningococcal conjugate shots. Ask your doctor if your child has a high risk of getting infections from bacterial meningitis and whether booster shots are needed.
Pneumococcal polysaccharide (PPSV, or Pneumovax 23)(What is a PDF document?)
This shot does
not necessarily reduce the risk of getting
pneumonia. But it can prevent some of the serious
complications of pneumonia, such as blood infections (sepsis).
Who should get it?
- Children ages 2 years and older who have certain chronic diseases, such as
diabetes or heart disease, need this shot at age 2 or as soon as possible after it is known that they have a chronic illness. This shot is usually given after the PCV series is finished.
Combination vaccines are
usually preferred to separate shots because they reduce the number of needle pricks.
- Comvax (Hepatitis B/Haemophilus influenzae type b)
- Kinrix (Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis/Polio)
- MenHibrix (Meningococcal/Haemophilus influenzae type b)
- Pediarix (Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis/Polio/Hepatitis
- Pentacel (Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis/Polio/Haemophilus influenzae type b)
- TriHIBit (Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis/Haemophilus influenzae type b)
Keeping good immunization records
It is important
to keep accurate records(What is a PDF document?) of immunizations, including any reactions to the
vaccines. When you enroll your child in day care or school, you may need to
show proof of immunizations. Also, your child may need the record later in life
for college, employment, or travel.
- Know when each immunization should be scheduled, and put
reminder notes on your calendar. You also may want to ask your doctor to send
you notices when immunizations are due.
- Have your doctor go over your child's immunization record with
you during each office visit.
- Keep the record in a safe place, and never throw it away. It is
an important part of your child's lifelong medical records.
You may worry that
immunizations are dangerous if given when your child has a cold or other minor
illness. Talk to your child's doctor if you have
concerns about the timing of immunizations. Immunizations can usually still be given during a mild illness,
while medicines are being taken, and in other situations where a child may not
be in perfect health. Also,
getting several vaccines at the same time is as safe
as getting one shot at a time.7 There are very few
reasons for which doctors suggest that a person
postpone or not get an immunization.
Some parents fear that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine may
cause their child to develop
autism. Misleading stories about the
MMR shot and autism have circulated through websites, the media, and word
of mouth. But scientific studies have found no
connection between autism and the vaccine.1
For more information about vaccine safety studies and vaccine side effects, see the topic Immunization Safety.