Vaccines are important in children because they help protect them from serious illnesses and diseases. Vaccines work by preparing the body to fight off infections. They do this by causing the body to produce antibodies, which are proteins that recognize and destroy viruses, bacteria, or other organisms that can cause disease. Some vaccines are for deadly diseases, and they not only benefit the vaccinated but also prevent the spread of disease to others.
To find out what vaccines your child needs, consult your pediatrician. Their recommendations are usually based on the vaccine schedule from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This schedule will tell you when each vaccine should be given, as well as any booster doses that may be needed.
Vaccines are usually recommended by age. Let’s talk about what vaccines your child needs to stay safe and protected from known diseases that can impact their health and development.
Vaccines Recommendations According to Age
- The first dose of the hepatitis B vaccine is typically given at birth, and the second and third doses are given at ages 2 and 6 months, respectively. Hepatitis B is a disease that is most commonly spread through contact with blood or other bodily fluids, and it can be deadly in children.
- The rotavirus vaccine is given to children at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. Rotavirus disease is a serious illness that can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting in young children. It is the leading cause of diarrhea among young children and can often lead to dehydration and death.
- The DTaP or tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccines are given to children at 2, 4, 6, and 15-18 months of age. All three of these diseases are caused by bacteria, and all can be prevented by vaccination. Tetanus is a serious disease that can cause muscle spasms and paralysis, and it can be fatal. Diphtheria is a respiratory illness that can lead to difficulty breathing, heart failure, and death. Pertussis (whooping cough) is a highly contagious respiratory illness that causes severe coughing spells. It is most dangerous for infants and young children, who may not have the strength to cough up the thick mucus in their lungs and may stop breathing altogether.
- The Hib or Haemophilus influenza type b vaccine is given to children at 2 and 4 months of age. The Hib bacteria are spread through coughing and sneezing and can infect the lungs, brain, and other parts of the body. Children under 5 years old are at the highest risk for Hib disease.
- The IPV or inactivated polio vaccine is given to children at 2, 4, and 12-15 months of age. Polio is a highly contagious viral infection that can cause paralysis and even death in young children. The virus typically spreads through contact with contaminated water or food and can quickly spread from person to person.
- The PCV or pneumococcal vaccine is given to children at 2,4,6, and 12-23 months of age. It protects against pneumococcal infections caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumonia, which can lead to pneumonia, meningitis, or sepsis.
- At the age of 6 months, the baby will begin getting the yearly flu vaccine. The yearly flu vaccine is a safe and effective way to help protect children from the flu. The vaccine helps build up immunity against the viruses that cause the flu, making it less likely for children to get sick.
- The MMRV (mumps, measles, rubella, varicella) vaccine is given to children at 12-15 months old and again at 4-6 years old. Mumps is usually spread through contact with respiratory secretions or saliva from an infected person and causes swelling of the cheeks and jaw, as well as fever and headache. Measles is a highly contagious disease that can be very dangerous, especially for young children. Symptoms include a high fever, a runny nose, and a cough. Children with rubella may have a fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes. In some cases, rubella can also lead to encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord). Varicella, also known as chickenpox, is a highly contagious disease that most often affects children. The illness begins with a fever and feeling generally unwell, followed by the appearance of itchy spots on the skin that turn into fluid-filled blisters. Complications from chickenpox can include pneumonia and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
- Hepatitis A vaccines are now routinely given to all children ages 12 months or older in the United States. Hepatitis A is a serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). It can cause severe illness, especially in young children.
Child Vaccinations in The Woodlands & Spring, TX
The pediatricians at Northwoods Pediatric Center, P.A. can provide the vaccinations your child needs according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and CDC vaccine schedule. To schedule your visit, call our office today at (281) 296-7770 or use our convenient online request form.