Immunization Guidelines For Children
Below are recommendations on vaccine schedules for children based on CDC guidelines.
Birth: Hepatitis B
2 Months: HIB, DTaP, pneumococcal, rotavirus, polio, hepatitis B
4 Months: HiB, DTaP, pneumococcal, rotavirus, polio, hepatitis B
6 Months: HiB, DTAP, pneumococcal, rotavirus, polio, hepatitis B
- Every October Flu vaccine, if the child is over 6 months old
12 Months: MMR, chickenpox, hepatitis A, pneumococcal, HiB booster
18 Months: DTaP, hepatitis A
4 to 6 years: DTaP, polio, MMR, chickenpox
11 to 12 years: Meningitis, HPV, Tdap
- HPV is for women only and given in 3 doses
Reasons we vaccinate: People are vaccinated to prevent the outbreak of a potentially life threatening illness. We don’t see these illnesses anymore because the majority of the population is vaccinated.
Explanation of the vaccines:
Pneumococcal: help prevents streptococcus pneumoniae which is spread via respiratory droplets. This bacteria can cause lung infections, meningitis, sepsis, ear infections, joint infections
Hib: This is one of the strains of Haemophilus Influenzae bacteria. Hib lives in the mouth and nose without causing problems, making it likely that people will come in contact with this bacteria on a daily basis. It can lead to respiratory pneumonia, menigitis, epiglottis.
DTAP: Diptheria, tetanus, and pertussis.
- Diptheria is a bacterial infection that infects the throat and nose
- Tetanus is a bacteria that is introduced through a cut in the skin, and it produces a toxin that affects the nervous system
- Pertussis or whooping cough is a bacterial respiratory infection associated with a cough, and is still prevelant today.
Rotavirus: is an intestinal, stomach virus that causes diarrhea. It is common in children and can lead to dehydration.
Influenza: virus that is spread in the respiratory system. This is what we call the “respiratory flu” that generally is present in the winter months. Which is why vaccination every October is recommended.
Hepatitis B: is a virus that infects and attacks the liver. It is spread via blood born sources. All healthcare professionals are required to be vaccinated against Hepatitis B.
Polio: is caused by the polio virus and can cause paralysis of your muscles. Transmitted via oral secretions and cough. Polio is not prevalent in the United States, due to a large percentage of patients being vaccinated. However it is still prevalent in other countries with about two thousand cases annually.
MMR: Due to vaccination and herd immunity this disease is seen in less than 500 cases a year. However the virus is still spreading from unimmunized individuals, or who the vaccination no longer is providing immunity.
- Measles: is a virus that causes high fever and rash(most serious of the three viruses)
- Mumps: Can cause swelling of the parotid gland on the face, and saliva glands.
- Rubella or German Measles: causes rash, swollen lymph nodes and fever.
Chickenpox: comes from the varicella virus and causes a rash and fever. It is very common, and not life threatening in children. Although the rash is very itchy. The chickenpox are extremely contagious, which is why vaccination is recommended.
Hepatitis A: a virus that attacks the liver. It is transmitted through fecal oral contamination. Common in restaurants, daycares, and developing countries. Prior to vaccination their was 25,000 cases a year in the U.S.
Meningococcal: this bacteria can lead to a blood infection or meningitis. Antibiotics will treat this infection, however it spreads through the body rapidly. Within 24 hours the individual is very sick. Common in teens and on college campuses.
HPV: is a virus that causes warts and can lead to risk for cervical cancer in certain strains. The CDC is currently recommending vaccination for teenage girls through the age of 26 years.
The Center for Disease Control recommends vaccinations. If you choose not to vaccinate, or would like an alternative vaccination schedule talk with your doctor.
Books that are helpful at deciding whether to vaccinate or providing alternate schedules:
- The Vaccine Book by Dr. Sears
- The Vaccine Answer Book by Dr. Loehr