How to Know When to Get Which Vaccines for Your Child
Despite what you may have heard, children are much safer getting vaccines than getting the diseases they prevent. Make sure your child is fully protected with these guidelines.
Step 1: Protect against Hepatitis B Have your pediatrician vaccinate your infant against Hepatitis B before they turn two months old.
Step 2: Start a series of vaccinations At two months, take them for the IPV, PCV, Hib, DTaP and Rotavirus vaccines. Repeat all five inoculations at four months and again at six months. Repeat the Hepatitis B vaccine between their sixth and 18th month.
TIP: IPV protects against polio; PCV guards against bacteria that cause pneumonia; Hib helps prevent meningitis and other serious illnesses; DTaP offers protection against diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough; and Rotavirus vaccine guards against severe viral gastroenteritis.
Step 3: Immunize them against the flu If they're at least six months old, make sure your baby gets a flu shot, including an inoculation against any specific flu epidemics, like H1N1. For this first flu vaccination, they'll need two shots, spaced one month apart.
Step 4: Get the first birthday shots When your child turns one, take them for the MMR shot, which protects them from measles, mumps, and rubella; the varicella vaccine, which guards against chickenpox; and the first of two doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine. At age 15 months, give them the final doses of Hib and PCV.
TIP: Doctors do not advise exposing a child to illnesses intentionally as a way to build their immunity.
Step 5: Get the final DTaP shot Get them their fourth DTaP and final Hepatitis A shots by the time they're 18 months old.
Step 6: Get three more If needed, between their second and sixth birthdays, take them for the PPSV against pneumonia and MCV4 vaccines against meningitis.
Step 7: And another four… Between your child's fourth and sixth birthdays, get your child their final doses of DTaP, IPV, MMR, and varicella vaccines.
Step 8: Get a booster shot When your child is 11 or 12, get them a DTaP booster shot. And consider getting your daughter vaccinated against HPV, a virus that causes most cervical cancers. Girls as young as nine may receive this vaccine.
FACT: Englishman Edward Jenner, who created the first vaccine from cow pus in 1796, coined the term vaccination, which comes from the Latin word for cow.