Childhood Vaccines: Which Are They and Why Your Child Needs Them

Contrary to what you may read on the internet, childhood vaccines don’t cause autism. An infant’s immune system can handle all the recommended vaccines, and vaccine-acquired immunity is safer for your child than building immunity naturally. Vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration carry no toxic doses of any substance, and low infection rates in the United States aren’t a good reason to skip immunizations.

With all the disinformation circulating, it’s hard to keep the facts straight, and this can be aggravated by the busy immunization schedule your child sees in the first five years of their life. But the low levels of child mortality and long life expectancy that most people see these days is often thanks to the protection provided by childhood immunizations.

The most common vaccinations and their schedules

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updates the Recommended Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule for ages 18 years or younger regularly, including ideal ages for vaccines. The 2019 guidelines include these common vaccines:

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is the first vaccination, occurring immediately after birth, with two additional immunizations before the age of 15 months. It protects your child against blood-borne liver infection.

Rotavirus

Rotavirus vaccination has two or three doses, depending on the type of vaccine, starting at 2 months, protecting against a viral infection that causes severe diarrhea.

DTaP

Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) is a combination vaccine protecting against three diseases. The first four of a five-dose series are given before 15-18 months and the last at the age of 4 years.

Hib

Haemophilus influenzae type b is the first vaccine protecting against some strains of the flu, delivered as early as 6 weeks old in three or four doses, depending on the type.

Pneumococcal conjugate

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine protects against a strep virus that can cause pneumonia. It’s delivered in a four-dose series.

Polio

Inactivated poliovirus vaccination is also typically a four-dose series, three of which may be given before 15-18 months, with the fourth at age four, to protect against polio.

Flu

Influenza vaccines most appropriate to conditions at the time can be administered once or twice a year after the age of six months.

MMR

Measles, mumps, and rubella are also delivered in a combination vaccine with two doses, the first of which is delivered at 12 months and the second at 4 years.

Chickenpox

Varicella is better known as chickenpox, and its vaccine is administered in two doses, at 12 months and 4 years.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is first administered at 12 months with the second dose coming between six and 18 months later.

Special vaccination considerations

Some situations can alter the optimal immunization schedule, such as international travel or if the child’s mother tests positive for a disease, such as hepatitis B. There are also guidelines to catch up on missed vaccines, high-risk groups, and vaccinations that may be deemed necessary by a pediatrician or primary care physician. The CDC offers a parent-friendly listing of recommended vaccinations.

You can also take the complications out of your child’s vaccination schedule by partnering with Rainilda Valencia, MD, and her team at Valencia Pediatrics. As well as administering the age-appropriate immunizations, we maintain a complete and thorough history of the vaccines your child receives.

Call us today at Valencia Pediatrics to get your child up to date on their current vaccinations, as well as working a plan for the future. Vaccines remain the best way to ensure your child’s good health. 

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