Suggested Immunizations for Children
Learn all about immunizations for your children, including the latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Picture of kids on lawn Suggested Immunizations for Children

Making sure your child gets all the recommended vaccines is one of the most important ways to ensure your child's good health. Vaccines are also called immunizations. They protect children from a host of diseases, including many that are deadly.

Every year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other expert panels release new recommendations for childhood immunization schedules. The schedules change based on developments in vaccine research, disease outbreaks and other information.

With so many vaccines and yearly changes, it can be confusing for parents. That's why it's important to build a partnership with your pediatrician or family doctor. Your doctor can help keep your children up to date and keep copies of required immunization records.

Here is the most recent information from the CDC. Links to the CDC's information documents are also included below.

Types of vaccines
Here is information about different vaccines that children should receive:

Chickenpox | Click here for the CDC's Vaccine Information Statement

Children should receive a series of shots to protect against:

  • Chickenpox. Chickenpox (varicella) is a common childhood disease. It is usually mild, but it can be serious, especially in young infants, teens, pregnant women and adults. Chickenpox causes a rash that turns into blisters with itching. Other common symptoms include fever and fatigue. It can lead to severe skin infection, scars, pneumonia, brain damage or death.

Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis (DTaP) | Click here for the CDC's Vaccine Information Statement

Children should receive a series of these shots to protect against:

  • Diphtheria. An infection of the throat that can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure and death.
  • Tetanus. A potentially deadly illness that causes painful tightening of the muscles and locking of the jaw.
  • Pertussis. Also called whooping cough, this disease causes the buildup of sticky, thick mucus in the windpipe. Whooping cough can lead to pneumonia and seizures.

Tetanus and diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap) | Click here for the CDC's Vaccine Information Statement

Tetanus and diphtheria toxoid and pertussis vaccine is given as a booster for the diseases of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis that were mentioned above.

Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B | Click here for the CDC's Vaccine Information Statement – Hepatitis A

Click here for the CDC's Vaccine Information Statement – Hepatitis B

Children should receive a series of shots to protect against:

  • Hepatitis A. A viral disease that attacks the liver, causing flu-like symptoms, jaundice, nausea and stomach pains.
  • Hepatitis B. A viral disease that can cause acute short-term symptoms, such as loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, jaundice, fatigue and pain in muscles, joints and stomach. It can also lead to liver failure and liver cancer.

Haemophilus influenzae (Hib) | Click here for the CDC's Vaccine Information Statement

Children should receive a series of shots to protect against:

  • Haemophilus influenzae (Hib). This is a bacterial infection that can affect the brain, bloodstream, bones, joints, lungs and windpipe. Before the vaccine was developed, Hib was the most common cause of meningitis, a serious infection of the brain.

Measles, mumps and rubella | Click here for the CDC's Vaccine Information Statement

Children should receive a series of shots to protect against:

  • Measles. This is a highly-contagious disease that can lead to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage and death.
  • Mumps. A viral infection characterized by swelling of the salivary glands near the neck. It can lead to deafness, meningitis, painful swelling of the testicles or ovaries and, rarely, death.
  • Rubella. Also known as German measles, rubella is a viral illness that causes a rash, mild fever and arthritis (mostly in women). It can cause birth defects or miscarriage if a woman is infected during the first three months of her pregnancy.

Meningococcal | Click here for the CDC's Vaccine Information Statement

Children should receive a series of shots to protect against:

  • Meningococcal infections. These bacteria can cause a serious infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and blood (sepsis).

Pneumococcal | Click here for the CDC's Vaccine Information Statement

Children should receive a series of shots to protect against:

  • Pneumococcal infections. The pneumoccoccal bacteria can cause serious infections of the lungs (pneumonia), the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and the blood (sepsis). The bacteria also cause ear infections.

Polio | Click here for the CDC's Vaccine Information Statement

Children should receive a series of vaccines to protect against:

  • Polio. Polio is a viral disease that attacks the brain, spinal cord and central nervous system, causing paralysis and death.

Influenza vaccine | Click here for the CDC's Vaccine Information Statement – Shot

Click here for the CDC's Vaccine Information Statement – Nasal Spray

Children should receive the flu vaccine each fall to protect against:

  • Influenza (flu). Influenza (flu) is a viral illness seen in the winter that causes fever, cough and muscle aches. It can lead to pneumonia, and kills tens of thousands of people every year.

Human papillomavirus, or HPV | Click here for the CDC's Vaccine Information Statement – Gardasil

Click here for the CDC's Vaccine Information Statement - Cervarix

Girls should receive a series of shots. Boys may also receive this series of shots to protect against:

  • Human papillomavirus. The HPV vaccine offers protection from the viruses that cause genital warts and most cervical cancers.

Rotavirus | Click here for the CDC's Vaccine Information Statement

Children should receive a series of shots to protect against:

  • Rotavirus. The rotavirus causes vomiting and watery diarrhea with fever and belly pain. Infection with the virus can lead to dangerous dehydration in children. Keep in mind that your baby can still get diarrhea from other germs. The rotavirus, though, commonly causes the most severe kind of stomach flu in babies.

Note: In the late 1990s a different type of rotavirus vaccine was used. This vaccine was found to be linked with an uncommon type of bowel obstruction called intussusception, and it was taken off the market. The new rotavirus vaccines have not been linked to intussusception.

Immunizations schedules
Below are links to the CDC's charts detailing immunization schedules:

Recommended Immunization Schedule Ages newborn to 6 years

Recommended Immunization Schedule Ages 7 through 18 years

Recommended Catch-up Schedule Ages 4 months through 18 years

By Nancy Reid, Contributing Writer
Created on 11/22/2000
Updated on 02/04/2013
Sources:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccines & immunizations.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics. Immunization.
Copyright © OptumHealth.
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