Childhood Vaccines — Saving Lives

Childhood Vaccines — Saving Lives

One of the most important inventions in history is the development of vaccines. Vaccines can prevent serious diseases that used to kill or harm many babies, children and adults. Vaccines have helped eradicate diseases like smallpox, which is estimated to have killed between 300-500 million people since 1900. In fact, smallpox was the first disease ever eradicated and this was achieved in 1977 with a massive vaccination campaign. Polio was once a greatly feared disease which caused death and paralysis across the country, but largely due to vaccinations, it too has been eradicated in the U.S. with no reports of it for over 30 years.

Different vaccines work in different ways to provide protection against diseases. A baby’s immune system is not fully developed when it is born and this means there is a higher chance of infection. Babies immune systems can fight most germs, but they can’t fight some serious and deadly diseases. Vaccinating your child as per the recommended schedule will reduce the infection risk as vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to develop protection against disease. Antigens are parts of bacteria and viruses that trigger the body’s immune system to go to work and fight disease — vaccines use tiny amounts of antigens which will help your child’s immune systems to recognize and fight serious diseases when they come into contact with them.

The CDC’s immunization schedule protects children from 14 potentially deadly diseases before their second birthday and is designed to provide protection at exactly the right time. Following the CDC immunization schedule is the best way to keep your child safe and to prevent serious complications from diseases. Some vaccines require more than one dose to give complete coverage so it is important to follow the guidelines and immunize your child at the right time.

Disease Prevention

Vaccines are safe and effective at preventing these diseases:

  • Polio
  • Tetanus
  • Influenza (Flu)
  • Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B
  • Rubella
  • Hib
  • Measles
  • Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
  • Pneumococcal Disease
  • Rotavirus
  • Mumps
  • Chickenpox
  • Diphtheria

CDC Immunization Schedule

The CDC’s immunization schedule may be a bit confusing to look at, but your healthcare provider can help you stay on track and keep your child’s vaccines up to date.

  1. BIRTH: Your child should receive the first dose of the Hepatitis B vaccine within 24 hours of birth.
  1. 1-2 MONTHS:
  • 2nd dose of Hepatitis B (HepB)
  • 1st dose of Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough). This is a single shot called DTaP with the three doses in one.
  • 1st dose of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
  • 1st dose of Polio (IPV)
  • 1st dose of Rotavirus (RV)
  • 1st dose of Pneumococcal (PCV
  1. 4 MONTHS
  • 2nd dose of Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP)
  • 2nd dose of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
  • 2nd dose of Polio (IPV)
  • 2nd dose of Rotavirus (RV)
  • 2nd dose of Pneumococcal (PCV)
  1. 6 MONTHS
  • 3rd dose: Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP)
  • 3rd dose: Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). Please note that this is not needed if your child was given Pedvax Hib brand.
  • 3rd dose: Polio (IPV)
  • 3rd dose: Pneumococcal (PCV)
  • 3rd dose: Hepatitis B (Hep B). The 3rd dose is strongly recommended to be given here IF the child received their 1st two doses at the correct time intervals.
  • 3rd dose: Rotavirus (RV). This is only needed with Rotateq brand 3-dose series. Not needed if Rotarix brand 2-dose series is used.
  • Influenza (Flu) every year. Need 2 doses 1 month apart the first year the flu shot is taken up to the age of 9 years.
  • 1st dose: COVID-19
  1. 7-11 MONTHS
  • Influenza (Flu) every year
  • 2nd dose: COVID-19 (3-8 weeks after the first dose)
  • 3rd dose: COVID-19 (8 weeks after 2nd dose)
  1. 12-23 MONTHS
  • 1st dose: Varicella (chicken pox)
  • 4th dose: Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP)
  • 4th dose: Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
  • 1st dose: Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
  • 3rd dose: Polio (IPV)
  • 4th dose: Pneumococcal (PCV)
  • 1st AND 2nd dose: Hepatitis A (HepA). The 1st dose is usually given at 12 months, the 2nd dose is given 6 months later. Both doses are included in this age range.
  • Influenza (Flu) every year
  1. 2-3 YEARS
  • Influenza (Flu) every year
  1. 4-6 YEARS
  • 5th dose: Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP)
  • 4th dose: Polio (IPV)
  • 2nd dose: Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
  • 2nd dose: Varicella (chicken pox)
  • Influenza (Flu) every year
  • 3rd (or 4th) dose: 5-17 years. COVID-19 bivalent booster (includes protection against the Omicron strains. This should also be approved soon for ages 6 months-4 years.
  1. 7-10 YEARS
  • Influenza (Flu) every year
  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV): This is usually given to children aged 11-12, but the HPV vaccine has been approved to be given as early as 9 to help protect girls and boys from HPV infection and cancers caused by HPV.
  1. 11-12 YEARS
  • Meningococcal disease: one dose of MenACWY vaccine
  • HPV: 2 doses if started before the age of 15. 3 doses are needed if started later than 15 years.
  • Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap)
  • Influenza (Flu) every year
  1. 13-18 YEARS
  • Influenza (Flu) every year
  • Meningococcal disease:
  1. 2nd dose of Meningococcal conjugate (MenACWY) given at 16
  2. Serogroup B meningococcal (MenB) may be given between 16-18 (2 doses)

Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy

With the rise of disinformation regarding vaccines, some parents are hesitant to have their child immunized. Immunization is important to keep your child safe from potentially deadly diseases.


  • Vaccines are safe with extensive lab testing and clinical studies conducted.
  • Mild side effects are expected but most people have no side effects.
  • It is better to prevent a disease rather than treat it after it occurs, because many of the diseases cause significant illnesses for children and older adults. If they are not vaccinated and get the disease, many require hospitalization and some even die.
  • Immunization protects your child and others who can’t be vaccinated due to old age or illnesses like cancer or other immune-deficient diseases.
  • Immunization protects future generations.

See your healthcare provider today to start your child on the immunization schedule.