Immunization is the process the body goes through to resist disease. Vaccinations, a common method of immunization, protect your child from many potentially life-threatening or debilitating diseases including chicken pox, diphtheria, measles, meningitis, polio, tetanus, and whooping cough.
Childhood vaccinations are given on a schedule beginning at, or soon after, birth. Some vaccinations are given in a single dose; others are given as a series over several months or years. The majority of vaccinations are administered, or the series is started, during a child’s first year. But some begin or continue through the school years. Your pediatrician, following guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control, will set up a schedule specific to your child.
Typically, in your child’s first year, he should receive vaccinations, or begin series of vaccinations, for:
- Hepatitis B
- Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough), in a vaccine known as DTap
- Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
- Polio (IVP)
- Pneumococcal conjugate
- Varicella (chicken pox)
Between the ages of 1 to 3, your child should start vaccinations for:
- Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
- Hepatitis A
Starting around age 11 and through age 18, your child should also receive:
- Tdap booster (continued protection into adulthood against Tetanus, Diptheria, and Pertussis)
- Meningococcal vaccine (meningitis)
- HPV vaccine (human papillomavirus)
Ask your pediatrician about how vaccines work, why they’re so important, or how to prepare your child for them.
You can count on your pediatrician to guide you through your child’s immunizations.