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Immunizations - Childhood Immunizations

Other 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 6 weeks to 2 years 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

Combination vaccines are usually preferred to separate shots because they reduce the number of needle pricks. Examples include:

  • Comvax (Hepatitis B/Haemophilus influenzae type b)
  • Kinrix (Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis/Polio)
  • MenHibrix (Meningococcal/Haemophilus influenzae type b)
  • Pediarix (Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis/Polio/Hepatitis B)
  • 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.

Immunization safety

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.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 01, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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