To keep your child healthy, have him or her vaccinated (immunized) against diseases. Many vaccinations are given in a series of doses. To be protected, your child needs each dose at the right time. Vaccines may cause mild side effects. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of vaccines. Also talk to your healthcare provider about any missed vaccinations. Your child will need catch-up vaccinations to be completely protected. Low-cost or free vaccinations may be offered at clinics and doctors’ offices.
Hepatitis B (HepB): Hepatitis B is caused by a virus that can damage the liver and result in jaundice (yellow skin and whites of the eyes). Some people may later develop liver cancer or liver failure. The HepB vaccination schedule is usually as follows:
First dose: Soon after birth, before going home from the hospital
Second dose: 1 through 2 months old
Final dose: 6 through 18 months old
Your healthcare provider can tell you whether the schedule for your child is different.
Rotavirus (RV): Rotavirus disease is caused by the rotavirus. The illness involves severe vomiting and diarrhea (acute gastroenteritis) in young children, and can lead to dehydration. Children who are severely dehydrated often need to be hospitalized. The rotavirus vaccine is given in 3 doses: 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months.
Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP): Diphtheria is caused by a bacteria and can lead to difficulty swallowing and enlarged glands on the sides of the neck. In severe cases, heart muscles can be damaged and the breathing muscles paralyzed. Tetanus (lockjaw) is caused by a bacteria and can lead to muscle spasms that keep people from opening their mouths or swallowing. Pertussis (whooping cough) is caused by a bacteria and results in coughing and choking spells. It can also lead to pneumonia or brain damage in infants. The DTaP vaccine is given in 5 doses: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 through 18 months, and 4 through 6 years. Note: Your child also needs an extra dose (called the Tdap) at 11 through 12 years old, if he or she has not received a tetanus and diphtheria (Td) booster. The Td booster should then be received every 10 years throughout life.
Haemophilus influenzaetype b (Hib): Haemophilus influenzae type b is a bacteria that can cause meningitis (inflammation of the membrane covering the brain and spinal cord). It can also cause pneumonia. The Hib vaccine is given at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 12 through 15 months. Note: If the PRP-OMP type vaccine is given at 2 months and 4 months, the dose at 6 months can be skipped. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information about this.
Inactivated Polio (IPV): Polio is caused by a virus. It can lead to permanent paralysis of the muscles, including the muscles that control breathing. Polio can also cause death. The polio vaccine is given in 4 doses: 2 months, 4 months, 6 through 18 months, and 4 through 6 years. Note: In the U.S., polio is rare. However, in parts of the world such as Asia and Africa, polio is still widespread. If you know that your child will be exposed to polio through, for example, travel to a country where polio is common, talk to your child's healthcare provider. He or she may recommend that your child receive the vaccine before 2 months old and/or with the doses given closer together.
Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR): Measles is caused by a virus and can lead to fever and rash. It can also cause hearing loss, brain damage, or death. Mumps is caused by a virus and can result in fever, headache, and swollen, painful glands under the jaw. It can prevent males from later having children. Mumps can also lead to hearing loss or inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Rubella (German measles) is caused by a virus and can result in fever, swollen glands, and rash. If a pregnant woman develops rubella, the baby may be born with severe health problems. The MMR vaccine is given in 2 doses: 12 through 15 months, and 4 through 6 years.