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Back-to-School Vaccinations Made Simple

The best way to protect your children from vaccine-preventable diseases is to vaccinate them. It sounds simple enough, but there are many questions that arise with vaccines, among them: Which vaccines does your child need? When does your child need to be vaccinated? Which diseases do vaccines protect against?

WebMD has simplified the immunization process with an up-to-date, at-your-fingertips vaccination guide. This handy checklist outlines the vaccines your child needs at birth and throughout the teenage years.

Did You Know?

Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans will provide free preventive care services, including checkups, vaccinations and screening tests, to children and teens. Learn more.

Health Insurance Center

Our vaccine checklist includes the latest immunization guidelines as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

When your child is due for a flu vaccine, keep in mind that the flu strain is different every season, and so is the flu vaccine. The flu shot can – and should – be given every year in the fall season, starting at six months of age.

 

Vaccine Checklist

Birth
All newborns should receive their first hepatitis B (HepB) vaccine before leaving the hospital. Hepatitis B is a contagious liver disease caused by infection with hepatitis B virus.

One to Two Months
The second dose of the hepatitis B vaccine should be administered when your infant is one or two months old.

At two months, several other vaccines are also recommended.

They include:

  • The first dose of the rotavirus vaccine. This is not a shot. It is an oral vaccine that is given to your infant as drops. Rotavirus infection is a common cause of diarrhea in children.
  • The first dose of the diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis vaccine (DTaP). Diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) are spread via human contact; tetanus (lockjaw) enters the body through cuts or wounds. Children typically get five doses of this vaccine at the recommended ages of 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months, and a booster at 4 to 6 years of age. It is not licensed for use in children older than 7.
  • The first dose of the Haemophilius influenzae type b conjugate vaccine (Hib). This is not a flu shot. It protects against Hib disease, which is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis.
  • The first dose of the pneumococcal vaccine. The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) protects against different types of pneumococcal disease, including pneumococcal pneumonia, bacteremia, meningitis, and otitis media (middle ear infection).
  • The first dose of the inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV). This vaccine protects against polio.

This may seem like a lot of shots to get all at once, but “the reason that we recommend them when we recommend them is so your infant can get the protection as early as possible,” says Lance Rodewald, MD, pediatrician and director of the Immunization Services Division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. That said, combination vaccines are available that can reduce the number of shots your baby gets during one visit. Ask your pediatrician about combination vaccines.

WebMD Medical Reference

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