Vaccination has helped to make vaccine-preventable diseases less common today. When you become a parent, you want to do whatever is within your power to protect your baby and keep them safe and healthy throughout their life. By keeping your baby up to date on their vaccinations you are helping to protect your child from a range of dangerous diseases. When there are less babies getting vaccinated, there are more babies that are getting sick.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a recommended list and time chart for several vaccines that should be given during childhood.
The Importance Behind Immunizations
Newborns that are strictly breastfed can be protected against many diseases. However, the immunity that breast milk can help create usually wears off within a year. As not all babies are breastfed, this only helps a select few for their first year.
In the long run, whether or not the newborn is breastfed vaccines can help to protect them from dangerous diseases. By getting your baby vaccinated this can help to prevent the spread of these diseases between other children and even adults.
How do Vaccines Work?
Immunizations are created by imitating the infection of a particular disease within your child’s body. This then puts the immune system into action to develop antibodies that work to fight the disease. In turn it helps the immune system to help prevent this actual disease once the antibodies are in place.
The immunization schedule for your baby may be vary slightly depending on the state/country that you live in and they aren’t all given to the baby at one time right after birth, in fact, most are spaced out within the first 18 months of your baby’s life. Some of the immunizations are given in several stages or doses throughout the process.
At birth the following immunizations are recommended:
- Vitamin K – This shot helps to prevent a rare, but potentially dangerous vitamin K deficiency. The shot helps babies to create blood clots and to avoid them from bleeding out until the vitamin K has fully developed in their bodies, by about six months of age.
- Hepatitis B- (Dose One) The Hepatitis B vaccine is given in three doses. The first does is suggested shortly after birth, within the first 24 hours. Hepatitis B can lead to liver damage and liver cancer. It chronically affects 1 in 4 children.
One- Two Months
- Hepatitis B- (Dose Two) This booster is recommended to be given within the first-second month of your babies life.
- DTap- (Dose One) This immunization is against diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis.
- DIphtheria has been known to lead to breathing problems, heart failure, and paralysis. In the U.S. around 15,000 people died from this disease before a vaccination was created.
- Tetanus can lead to stiffness in the jaw that can make it hard to open the mouth or swallow. Tetanus has been known to kill about 1 in every 10 people that get it.
- Pertussis can lead to pneumonia, brain damage, seizures, or even death. This can be very dangerous for infants. It has caused deaths in babies that are 3 months or younger in age.
- Haemophilus influenzae Type B (HIB) – (Dose One) This disease can lead to meningitis, pneumonia, infections of the blood, joints, bones, sinuses, and brain damage. This can cause babies to become deaf or have severe swelling of the throat and have trouble breathing. Children that are under the age of five are at the greatest risk for developing the disease if left unvaccinated.
- Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)- (Dose One) This disease can also lead to meningitis, infections of the sinuses, blood, and ears; deafness; pneumonia; and brain damage. About one out of 15 children who contract pneumococcal meningitis will die from the infection.
- Inactivated Poliovirus vaccine (IPV)- (Dose One) Polio can lead to permanent paralysis and death. In the U.S. in the 1950’s polio paralyzed over 15,0000 people every year.
- Rotavirus vaccine (RV) – (Dose One) This virus can spread easily between infants and children. It has been known to cause watery diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain.
- DTap – (Dose Two)
- HiB – (Dose Two)
- IPV – (Dose Two)
- PCV – (Dose Two)
- RV – (Dose Two)
- DTap – (Dose Three)
- HiB – (Dose Three)
- PCV – (Dose Three)
- RV – (Dose Three)
- Influenza (Flu) – The flu vaccine is recommended yearly for children six months and older.
- If your child is less than 9 years old for their first flu vaccine, they will get it in two separate doses at least one month apart.
- Hepatitis B – (Dose Three) This can be done anytime between six to 18 months after birth.
- IPV – (Dose Three) This can be done anytime between six to 18 months after birth.
12 – 15 months
- HiB- (Dose Four)
- MMR – This vaccine is against measles, mumps, and rubella. It is recommended to get a routine dose of this vaccine again when your child is four- six years of age. However, if you will be traveling internationally the second dose can be done within four weeks of the first one to help prevent further risk.
- PCV- (Dose Four)
- Chickenpox (varicella) – Varicella protects against the chickenpox and is given in two doses.
- Hepatitis A – This vaccine is recommended to be given between 12 – 23 months of age and in two shots. The shots should be done with at least 6 months apart. The vaccine is recommended for kids that are at high risk of the disease which includes, people who live in or travel to areas with high rates of hepatitis A, people with chronic liver disease, drug users, homeless people, or people with clotting disorders.
- DTaP- (Dose Four) This booster is recommended to be given between the ages of 15-23 months old.
Things to Keep in Mind
While most children can safely get all of the above vaccinations, there are some exceptions:
- If your child has had a life-threatening allergic reaction after getting another vaccine, then you should discuss this with your doctor before getting another dose.
- If your child is moderately or severely ill on the day of their immunization, then you should reschedule and come back another time.
- If your child has had a severe allergic reaction to a substance that has been found within the vaccination, then you should avoid that vaccine all together.
Talk to Your Doctor
It is important to talk to your doctor about vaccines as they are an important part of keeping your child safe and healthy. If you have any questions, make sure to talk to your pediatrician.
Things you may want to discuss are:
- How can I help to relieve any side effects that may occur ?
- Are there any risks to using these immunizations?