Immunizations: Is Your Child Safe & Protected?

January 27, 2016
Keep Reading ↓
Flickr/NIAID

One of the simplest things parents can do to protect their children from life-threatening illnesses is to make sure they receive all of the recommended immunizations, and on time.

Parents who are diligent with well-child checkups likely have children who are up-to-date on these vaccinations. But if you’ve had to cancel an appointment, or have skipped a regular vaccine for any reason, your child could be at risk.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,) the recommended timeline for immunizations for children ages birth through  6 years old is as follows:

DTaP: Provides protection against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.

  • Schedule: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, between 15 and 18 months, between 4 and 6 years.
  • Potential complications from the diseases: Diphtheria: Swelling of the heart muscle, heart failure, coma, paralysis, death; Tetanus: Broken bones, breathing difficulty, death; pertussis: Pneumonia (infection in the lungs), death.

HepA: Protects against hepatitis A.

  • Schedule: 12 months to 23 months.
  • Potential complications from hepatitis A: Liver failure, arthralgia (joint pain), kidney, pancreatic, and blood disorders.

HepB: Protects against hepatitis B,

  • Schedule: Birth, between 1 month and 2 months, between 6 months and 18 months.
  • Potential complications from hepatitis B: Could include chronic liver infection, liver failure, liver cancer.

Hib: Protects against Haemophilus influenzae type b.

  • Schedule: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, between 12 months and 15 months.
  • Potential complications from the disease: Meningitis (infection of the covering around the brain and spinal cord), intellectual disability, epiglottitis (life-threatening infection that can block the windpipe and lead to serious breathing problems), pneumonia (infection in the lungs), death.

IPV: Protects against polio.

  • Schedule: 2 months, 4 months, between 6 months and 18 months
  • Potential complications from the disease: Paralysis, death

MMR: Protects against measles, mumps and rubella.

  • Schedule: Between 12 months and 15 months
  • Potential complications from the diseases: Measles: Encephalitis (brain swelling), pneumonia (infection in the lungs), death ; mumps: Meningitis (infection of the covering around the brain and spinal cord) , encephalitis (brain swelling), inflammation of testicles or ovaries, deafness; rubella: Children infected with rubella virus sometimes have a rash, fever, swollen lymph nodes.

PCV: Protects against pneumococcus.

  • Schedule: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, between 12 months and 15 months
  • Potential complications from the disease: Bacteremia (blood infection), meningitis (infection of the covering around the brain and spinal cord), death.

RV: Protects against rotavirus.

  • Schedule: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months
  • Potential complications from the disease: Severe diarrhea, dehydration

Varicella: Protects against chickenpox.

  • Schedule: Between 12 months and 15 months.
  • Potential complications from the disease: Infected blisters, bleeding disorders, encephalitis (brain swelling), pneumonia (infection in the lungs.)

Beginning at age 6 months, children should begin receiving a yearly flu vaccination, advises the CDC. For the very first exposure to the influenza vaccine, children ages 6 months through 8 years should actually have two doses that are at least four weeks apart. The CDC also recommends additional vaccines for children ages 7 to 18, but this schedule can vary depending on certain health conditions your child may have.

Contact your healthcare provider if you believe your child has missed any of his recommendation immunizations, or if you have questions about whether your child should or shouldn’t receive a specific vaccine.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *