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Infant Health and Care: Immunization Schedule and Vaccine Shots Needed by Your Baby

Updated on September 9, 2012
jpcmc profile image

I'm a dad, husband, and Christian first. The rest are just life's add-ons: an educator, administrator, learner, & development professional.

No parent wants to see his child in pain.
No parent wants to see his child in pain. | Source

The first time my baby was vaccinated I almost cried as I saw her wail when the needle pierced her thigh. It was not a pretty sight – whether you look at my daughter or the grimace on my face. From 0 to 6 years old, children are given (or should I say must be given) immunization to fight off some of the common diseases.

As parents we need to know what and when these immunizations should be given. Moreover, some may require follow up or booster dosages. These too must be administered promptly to give your little ones extra protection. But the idea of our baby being injected is something we need to accept and endure. It's not easy, but we have to learn it.

So what are the important vaccinations that you child must have?

CDC Immunization Schedule
CDC Immunization Schedule | Source
Source

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Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B immunization protects your child from hepatitis obviously. This deadly disease causes the liver to swell. This inflammation is due to toxic drugs, chemicals, viral infections (such as hepatitis B virus - HPV). The HPV is usually transmitted through bodily fluids, passed on from mother to child in the womb, sharing contaminated needles and sexual intercourse. Of course you don’t expect your baby to inject themselves with tainted needles or even act promiscuously, but getting vaccinated against hepatitis B provides lifetime protection.

Timing & Dosage:

This vaccine comes in three doses. The first dose is given a day or two from birth. The second is given a month after while the last one is given between 6 to 18 months.


Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis

Another important immunization is called DPT. This stands for Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus. Yes, it’s a 3-in-1 shot that offers some protection against these diseases.

Diphtheria is a very contagious disease transferred through sprays from coughing or sneezing. Once infected, breathing problems and even heart failure occurs. On the other hand, Pertussis is an upper respiratory problem caused by bacteria. It is commonly called whooping cough and is highly contagious. The young ones are most vulnerable to this disease. Lastly, Tetanus is an infection that must never be taken lightly. This disease is known for having symptoms like lockjaw since the tetanus-causing bacteria targets the nervous system – particularly the nerves that control motor function.

Timing & Dosage:

Currently, the old DPT immunization is replaced with the DTaP immunization which uses the acellular form of the pertussis injection. This particular vaccination requires 5 vaccinations. It is administered 2, 4 and 6 months after birth. The 4th one is usually given at 15-18 months of age while the last shot is given between 4 and 6

There are also booster shots given at 11-12 years of age. Moreover, additional shots of diphtheria and tetanus are administered every 10 years of life.

Poliomyelitis

Polio was one of the most dreaded diseases in the early 20th century. Until today, it is a significant health problem that plagues developing countries. This illness is characterized by weakness in the muscular system, pain and paralysis. In many cases, it can lead to death.

Timing & Dosage:

The polio inoculation has 4 doses. A baby between 2 and 4 months old can receive the first two injections. The third is given between 6 to 18 months of age while the last injection is administered at age 4 to 6 years old.

Children fear needles - and some adults do as well
Children fear needles - and some adults do as well | Source

Rotavirus

Chances are you’re aware that diarrhea and dehydration are severe health concerns especially with infants and young children. But you may not know that it is the Rotavirus that is the primary cause of this disease. As such, battling it is an essential step in the infant’s life. Currently, there are two available vaccines - RotaTeq/RV1 and the Rotarix/RV5.

Timing & Dosage:

This protection is orally administered to the infant. The first dose is given babies between 6 and 15 weeks of age. The succeeding ones will be given depending on the type of preparation is used. 3 doses of RV5 is given during 2, 4 and 6 months On the other hand, RV1 has 2 doses. The first one is given at 2 and 4 months. The last installment for both vaccines should be given before 8 months of age.

Haemophilus Influenza B (HiB)

The Haemophilus influenzae serotype b (Hib) wreaked havoc among children even until the middle 20th century. Although it sounds like an influenza virus, it is not. Rather, it causes meningitis. Its reign as the top cause for bacterial meningitis among children was put stop by the HiB serum.

Timing & Dosage:

There are numerous HiB vaccines. However, they are usually administered in three installments. The first one is given at 2 months, the second on the 4th month and the last dose is given at 4 months of age. Moreover, booster shots are given at 12 to 15 months.

Another type is administered in 2 parts. The first one is given at 2 months of age and the second is at 4 months of age. The booster shot is administered 12 to 15 months of age.

Pneumococcal

Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) can cause meningitis and pneumonia. Both infections are fatal! Even older kids with weak immunity can succumb to this threat.

Timing and Dosage:

The first installment can be given at 6 weeks from birth. Succeeding injections are given at 2, 4, 6, and 12 months of age.

Babies don't like injections
Babies don't like injections | Source

Important Note: Consult your baby's pediatrician for his/her immunization schedule

Do you personally monitor your child's immunization schedule?

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Influenza

Known as the common flu, this viral infection can spread easily among children. Even adults get infected with this virus. In fact, it is recommended that everyone gets vaccinated against flu.

What is tricky with influenza is that it is constantly evolving. As such, vaccines must be created for every new strain of flu virus.

Timing and Dosage:

Flu injections are recommended children at least 6 months of age.

Measles - Mumps - Rubella

The MMR immunization offers protection against 3 contagious diseases – Measles, Mumps and Rubella. Although the occurrence of these diseases has diminished, doctors still advocate getting vaccinated against these diseases.

Timing and Dosage:

The initial shot is given to the individual at 12 to 15months of age. Succeeding vaccinations is recommended at school age before the start of school.

Chicken Pox

Chicken pox is caused by the varicella zoster virus and causes fever, sore throat accompanied by rashes/blisters. It is usually spread through droplets or contact with the lesions. What makes this disease more difficult is its complications that may include bacterial infections.

Timing and Dosage:

Ideally this is administered to a baby between 12 to 15 months of age. Another one is given from ages 4 to 6. This is when the child goes to school and may increase the risk of acquiring the virus once more. There is a special preparation that combines protection against MMR and varicella called MMRV. This vaccine is recommended to be administered by 12 months of age and another injection given at 12 years of age.

Hepatitis A

The hepatitis A virus (HAV) is among the most common viral infection in children and adolescents especially in the United States. HAV is easily spread through contaminated food and water. Also, contact with contaminated surfaces can propagate the disease.

Timing and Dosage:

HAV vaccine is given to individuals from 12 to 23 months old. A second dose is given after 6 months. Ideally everyone should get vaccinated against HAV. This is even more important to high risk individuals like those handle food and frequent travellers.

Adding protection to your baby is a wise move considering we do not know what infections are out there. Coupled with proper health habits, your child can live a healthy and hopefully disease-free life. But the first thing that we as parents need to overcome is the dismal knowledge that our baby will endure an injection.

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    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello Ellen,

      I'm glad you find value in this hub. Just remember to consult your pedia first.

    • profile image

      Ellen 

      6 years ago

      This is helpful for new parents like me. I need to bookmark this page. Thanks for the information.

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi there dinkan53,

      I want to know everything that is given to my daughter. Moreover, I'd like to know what it is for. Of course I trust the pediatrician, but I think it's a dad thing to want to know more. :)

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello anusujith,

      Just like you I'm a new dad and it pays to know more about our baby's health. At first I was oblivious about these things. Of course it is always best to consult your pediatrician for details and immunization schedules. Good luck.

    • dinkan53 profile image

      dinkan53 

      6 years ago from India

      Immunizations are to protect children from various diseases and people should consider them the most important part of well-child checkups. Thanks for providing us the list of immunization and explaining what is it for. Rated up and useful.

    • anusujith profile image

      Anoop Aravind A 

      6 years ago from Nilambur, Kerala, India

      Very Very Very Very Very Very Very Very Very Very Very Very Very useful hub for me... Thank you very much...Sharing this for a many infant baby's parents...

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi radhapriestess,

      It's really unfortunate that you have to experience this. Your country's buerreau of food and drugs should look into this matter and make the necessary changes.

    • profile image

      radhapriestess 

      6 years ago

      Sorry to tell you but many people get sick from these vaccines because of the toxic ingredients such mercury. I am one of those people. I've had all the childhood diseases, but I cannot tolerate any vaccine because mercury and yeasts found in these vaccines. It's time to get the toxins out of these vaccines. No excuses for this. I have seen many people get better when get the mercury out of their body.

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello Vampsdes,

      Even if you try to live a healthy life, there are still other factors to consider - environmental risks, contact with other people, contact with possible contaminated objects, etc.

      Getting vaccinated is an added protection. Thanks for sharing this interesting story.

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi there Jackie Lynnley,

      Some families do opt not to get immunization. But I won't risk the health of my child. Thanks for dropping by and sharing. See you around.

    • Vampsdes profile image

      Jenny Stub 

      6 years ago from Missouri, US

      There is a family I know that opted not to have their children get immunizations. They believed in a holistic approach to medicine. Their children are now grown and have children of their own. The daughter gave birth at home completely natural. Now I'm an advocate for getting your immunizations, but these are some of the healthiest people I've ever seen in my life.

      Not one is overweight, they have very very rarely been to the doctor and they don't get colds hardly ever. It's just interesting to see the other side of it. Of course this wouldn't always be the case if you opted not to get immunizations, but it has seemed to work well for this family. My son is still getting his though. Great hub, voted up!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      6 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Great hub. I cannot believe some have the choice to not have their kids vaccinated, and especially since we have so many illegals in the country possibly carrying diseases our babies would otherwise never be exposed to. Shoot I even remember getting my vaccinations and I still would easily make the choice for life.

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