Back-to-School Vaccinations Made Simple
Vaccine Checklist continued...
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.
At four months, your infant should receive the second dose of all the vaccines he or she received at two months. (This should include vaccines against rotavirus, diphtheria, tetanus and pertusis, Hib, pneumococcal disease, and polio.)
At the six-month well visit, your infant can receive a third HepB shot. (This can actually be given anytime from six months to 18 months.)
If your child received the rotavirus vaccine at two and four months, he or she will not need one during this visit. The same is true for the Hib vaccine at six months.
DTaP and pneumococcal vaccines are needed at the six-month well visit.
A third dose of the polio vaccine can be given between 6 months and 18 months of age.
Six months marks the minimum age for your infant’s first flu shot. The flu shot can and should be given every year starting at six months, and because it is the first time he/she will receive a flu vaccine, your infant will need another flu shot 4 weeks after the initial vaccine is administered. This is required only during the first season your child receives the flu vaccine. After that, your child will need a single vaccine per year.
At one year, your child should receive the following vaccinations:
- DTaP. The fourth dose of this vaccine can be given at one year if, and only if, six months has passed since receiving the third dose.
- HepB. Your child can receive the third HepB shot at this visit. (This can actually be given anytime from six months or 18 months of age.)
- Hib. A fourth dose of this vaccine can be given to children anytime from 12 and15 months of age.
- Pneumococcal vaccine. This can be given to children between 12 and 15 months of age.
- Polio vaccine. The third dose of the polio vaccine can be given to children between six and 18 months of age.
- Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR). This vaccine is recommended for children between 12 and 15 months of age. There was some debate about the MMR vaccine because of a study that linked its use to increased autism risk, but this study was later retracted by the journal that published it. “MMR is a critically important vaccine that protects against three diseases, and has a long track record of safety,” says CDC’s Rodewald.
- Varicella vaccine. The minimum age for the varicella (chicken pox) vaccine is 12 months. It is typically given between 12 and 15 months of age.
- Hepatitis A. The first two doses of this vaccine should be given between 12 and 23 months of age (with at least six months in between the first and second dose.)