Childhood vaccinations are essential for protecting your child against infectious diseases. Vaccines help protect us and those around us from preventable diseases by helping our bodies create immunity. Vaccinations have protected children from a variety of serious diseases, including diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, tetanus, whooping cough, and much more.
A child’s immune system is more vulnerable to diseases and illnesses compared to an adult’s immune system. If your child is exposed to a disease, such as measles or whooping cough, their immune system may not be strong enough to fight it off, which is why is it crucial to vaccinate your child annually.
How Do Vaccines Work?
According to the World Health Organization, “Vaccines contain weakened or inactive parts of a particular antigen that triggers an immune response within the body.” These antigens trigger the immune system to produce antibodies and develop immunity without getting sick with the disease.
In other words, vaccines stimulate the immune system to react as if there were a real infection occurring in the child’s body. It fights off the infection and remembers the germ that caused the infection. Antibodies are then produced which help fight the germ if it enters the body again.
What Age Does My Child Need Vaccinations?
Most childhood vaccinations are completed between birth and 6 years old. In most cases, certain vaccines are given more than once, at different ages, which is why it is crucial that you keep a careful record of your child’s shot. While your doctor’s office will keep track, people change doctors and records can get lost.
At ChildSmiles•FamilySmiles, we recommend vaccinating your child throughout their life to protect against serious diseases. Below we have listed which vaccines are recommended for your child based on their age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is important to note that recommendations change as new vaccines are developed. Your doctor will discuss with you the right vaccinations and schedule for your child.
Hepatitis B (HepB) — At birth, 2 months, 4 months, and 6-18 months old.
Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTaP/Tdap) — 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months, 4-6 years, 11-12 years old (Tdap).
Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib) — 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 12-15 months old.
Polio (IPV) — 2 months, 4 months, 6-18 months, 4-6 years old.
Pneumococcal Conjugate (PCV13) — 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 12-15 months old.
Rotavirus (RV) — 2 months, 4 months, 6 months old.
Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) — 12-15 months, 4-6 years old.
Chickenpox (Varicella) — 12-15 months, 4-6 years old.
Hepatitis A (HepA) — 2 doses given 6 months apart routinely at age 12-23 months old.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) — 11-12 years old.
Meningococcal (Men-ACWY) — 11-12 years and 16-18 years old.
Meningococcal (MenB) — 16-18 years old.
Flu (Influenza) — Recommended every year for everyone age 6 months and older.
We understand that some parents may hesitate to have their kids vaccinated. Some parents worry that their child may develop a serious reaction or get the illness the vaccine is supposed to prevent. The components of vaccines are weakened so they are unlikely to cause any serious illness.
Some vaccines may cause mild reactions in children, such as soreness where the shot was given, a minor fever, temporary headache, fatigue, or loss of appetite. Rarely, a child may experience a serious reaction to a vaccine. If your child is allergic to specific vaccine components or develops a life-threatening reaction, further doses of that specific vaccine will not be given. The risks of vaccinations are small compared to the risks of the disease the vaccine is intended to prevent.
Vaccines have proven to be the safest and most effective medicines to prevent dangerous diseases.
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