Childhood Vaccination Schedule

1 What is a Childhood Vaccination Schedule?

Childhood vaccination scheduleĀ helps children to be safe from some of the most deadly diseases in history. When a child receives a vaccine, it helps his/her body to create the body's defenses that fight off any foreign substances (germs) which is called antibodies.

The body can create antibodies on its own, but most of the vaccine prevents diseases which cause severe illness and even death before enough antibodies are produced.

Vaccines work best when they are given at certain ages. For most vaccines, it is never too late to catch up on missed shots so children who missed their first shots at 2 months of age can start later and children who have gotten some of their shots and then fallen behind schedule can catch up without having to start over.

If a child has never been immunized when they were infants, or who have gotten behind schedule, a doctor or the health department clinic must be contacted and they will help get the child up to date on their immunizations.

A child must have vaccines on schedule if it is possible because every month a child goes without scheduled immunizations is a month that the child is not fully protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.

The vaccine can be given as a combination vaccine in a single shot (for example, MMR, DTaP, Hib/HepB, DTaP/IPV/HepB) and doctors and parents both like them because they allow a child to get several vaccines at once without having to get as many injections.

This is the routine childhood immunization schedule published each year by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • Hepatitis B vaccine: first dose at birth to 2 months, second dose at 1 to 4 months, third dose at 6 to 18 months
  • Hib vaccine: first dose at 2 months, second dose at 4 months, third dose at 6 months, fourth dose at 12 to 15 months
  • Polio vaccine: first dose at 2 months, second dose at 4 months, third dose at 6 to 18 months, fourth dose at 4 to 6 years
  • DTaP vaccine: first dose at 2 months, second dose at 4 months, third dose at 6 months, fourth dose at 15 to 18 months, fifth dose at 4 to 6 years

DTaP is recommended at 11 years

  • Pneumococcal vaccine: first dose at 2 months, second dose at 4 months, third dose at 6 months, fourth dose at 12 to 18 months
  • Rotavirus vaccine: first dose at 2 months, second dose at 4 months, third dose at 6 months
  • Hepatitis A vaccine: first dose at 12 months, second dose at 18 months
  • Influenza vaccine: first dose at 6 months (requires a booster one month after initial vaccine), annually until 5 years (then yearly if indicated or desired, according to risks)
  • MMR vaccine: first dose at 12 to 15 months, second dose at 4 to 6 years
  • Varicella vaccine: first dose at 12 to 15 months, second dose at 4 to 6 years
  • Meningococcal vaccine: single dose at 11 years
  • Human papillomavirus vaccine (adolescent girls only): first dose at 11 years, second dose two months after the first dose, third dose six months after the first dose
Top