A vast array of childhood infections can be prevented by starting immunization early and sticking closely to the vaccination schedule laid out by the below childhood vaccination checklist created by Carrington.edu. This carefully researched schedule removes all doubt from the equation and ensures that children remain up to date with immunization. Some parents remain suspicious, however, as they don’t understand why the schedule is designed the way it is.
The Importance of Early Vaccinations
Many parents express doubts about the early age at which children are vaccinated. While exposing newborns and infants to the causative agent of an infectious disease (or its byproducts/substitutes) may seem alarming, extensive research indicates that this approach is most effective. Children are most vulnerable to the diseases for which they are vaccinated when they are under the age of two, and yet, this is exactly when vaccinations have the biggest impact on their immune systems.
Why So Many Doses?
Vaccinations begin early, but regular doses continue through the first several years of childhood, with periodic updates and the addition of a few new vaccinations later on. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, many vaccines will not work as well as intended unless children receive three or four doses. These doses need to be spread out a certain amount to work best. Cleveland Clinic has recommended these vaccines for school-going children, which can protect children from 16 potentially harmful diseases.
Although the recommended vaccine schedule is appropriate for most children, there are occasional exceptions. For example, experts at the Mayo Clinic do not recommend that children with HIV use the typical schedule. Parents must work with physicians and other healthcare professionals in such rare exceptions to find an acceptable alternative.
Keeping track of what vaccine your child needs and when is a tall order. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend 13 vaccines for all kids, many of which are spread across multiple doses. We hope that this guide will help you navigate the basics.
|Age||Name of Vaccine||Protects against|
|At Birth||Hepatitis B (HepB) 1st dose||Protects against the hepatitis B virus, which can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death|
|1-2 Months||Hepatitis B (HepB) 2nd dose|
|2 Months||Rotavirus (RV) 1st dose||Protects against rotavirus, which causes vomiting and severe diarrhea|
|Diphtheria, Tetanus, and acellular pertussis||Protects against|
1. Diphtheria, which causes a thick covering in the back of the throat that can lead to breathing problems 2. Tetanus, which causes painful tightening of the muscles and swollen salivary glands and 3. Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection
|Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) 1st dose||Protects against Hib disease, once a leading cause of bacterial meningitis|
|Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) 1st dose||Protects against pneumococcal disease, which can cause ear infections, pneumonia, bacteremia, and meningitis|
|Inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV:<18 yrs)||Protects against polio, which can cause severe illness and paralysis|
|4 Months||Rotavirus (RV) 2nd dose||Final dose for RV1 (Rotarix) vaccine|
|Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Acellular Pertussis (DTap:<7 yrs) 2nd dose|
|Haemophilus influenzae Type B (Hib) 2nd dose||Final regular dose for PedvaxHib and Comvax vaccines|
|Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV13) 2nd dose|
|Inactivated poliovirus (IPV:<18 yrs) 2nd dose|
|6 Months||Rotavirus (RV) 3rd dose||Protects against rotavirus, which causes vomiting and severe diarrhea|
|Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Acellular Pertussis (DTap:<7 yrs) 3rd dose|
|Haemophilus influenzae Type B (Hib) 3rd dose|
|Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV13) 3rd dose|
|6-18 months||Hepatitis B (HepB) 3rd dose|
|Inactivated poliovirus (IPV:<18 yrs) 3rd dose|
|6-23 months||Influenza (IIV; LAIV) annual vaccination (IIV only) 1 or 2 doses||Protects against flu|
|12-15 months||Haemophilus influenzae Type B (Hib) booster dose|
For PedvaxHib, COMVAX, ActHIB, MenHibrix, and Pentacel vaccines
|Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13) 4th dose|
|Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) 1st dose||Measles can cause fever, rash, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. |
Mumps can cause fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, and swollen salivary glands.
Rubella can cause fever, sore throat, rash, headache, and red, itchy eyes
|Varicella (VAR) 1st dose||Protects against varicella, or chickenpox, which can cause great discomfort|
|12-23 months||Hepatitis A (HepA) 2 dose series separate doses by 6 to 18 months|
|15-18 months||Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Acellular Pertussis (DTap:<7 yrs) 4th dose|
|2-9 years||Influenza (IIV; LAIV) annual vaccination (IIV only) 1 or 2 doses|
|4-6 years||Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Acellular Pertussis (DTap:<7 yrs) 5th dose|
|Inactivated poliovirus (IPV<18 yrs) 4th dose|
|Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) 2nd dose|
|Varicella (VAR) 2nd dose|
|10-18 years||Influenza (IIV; LAIV) annual vaccination (IIV only) 1 or 2 doses|
|11-12 years||Meningococcal 1st dose||Helps protect against meningitis, which can cause fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, and confusion|
|Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Acellular Pertussis (TDap:>7 yrs)|
|Human papillomavirus 3-dose series||Protects against cancer caused by HPV infections|
|16 years||Meningococcal-booster dose|
- Author profile: We are grateful to Carrington College and the team who provided us this inforgraph to share with our viewers.