What immunizations are recommended for infants?
It can be dizzying to keep track of all the vaccines required during your child's first year of life. For that reason, we compiled a run-down of each vaccine, and supplied which age the vaccine is generally given.
Below are the recommended vaccinations for children between birth and 1 year of age, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Boston Children's Hospital.
Hepatitis B (HepB)
Hepatitis B infections are known as the "silent epidemic" because many infected people don't experience symptoms until decades later when they develop hepatitis (inflammation of the liver), cirrhosis (severe liver disease), or cancer of the liver (hepatocellular carcinoma).
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends children get vaccinated for hepatitis B to prevent against severe liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus.
According to The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the hepatitis B vaccine is given as a series of three shots: the first between birth and 2 months of age; the second dose one to two months later; and the third given between 6 months and 18 months of age.
Each year in the U.S., according to the Boston Children's Hospital, rotavirus causes as many as 55,000 children to be hospitalized.
Rotavirus infects the lining of the intestines, and is the leading cause of severe diarrhea. The treatment goal is to prevent complications from dehydration.
The CDC recommends a series of three doses by mouth at 2 months, 4 months and 6 months of age, and can be administered with other vaccines typically given at those times.
Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (DTaP)
Diphtheria, a childhood disease that was common in the 1930s, is an acute bacterial disease found in two forms -- respiratory diphtheria and cutaneous (or skin) diphtheria.
Vaccinations against diphtheria have made the disease rare in the U.S. and other developed countries.
Tetanus (or lockjaw) causes painful contracting of the muscles, typically all over the body. It can lead to "locking" of the jaw, so the victim cannot open his or her mouth or swallow.
Pertussis (or whooping cough) causes uncontrollable coughing spells so bad that it is hard for infants to eat, drink or breathe.
The DTaP vaccine is given to infants in a series of five shots at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months, and again at 4 to 6 years of age.
Haemophilus Influenza (Hib)
Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) is a bacterium that infects the lining of the brain, causing meningitis. Meningitis is caused by several different bacteria; however, before the vaccine Hib was the most common cause of meningitis, according to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
The CDC recommends the Hib vaccine for infants at 2, 4, 6 and 15 to 18 months.
Polio is a highly contagious disease caused by three types of poliovirus: spinal polio, bulbar polio and bulbospinal polio, a combination of the two. The poliovirus is a virus most notable for its destruction of the nervous system, causing paralysis.
The majority of individuals who are infected with polio have no symptoms, and a small number of have mild symptoms. According to the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO), of those people who do acquire the infection, 1 percent or fewer may develop paralytic disease.
Since the introduction of the polio vaccine in 1955 and global efforts to quell its spread, infections from the poliovirus have nearly been eradicated.
The CDC recommends three doses of the IPV (Inactivated polio vaccine) at 2 months, 4 months, between 6 and 18 months.
Pneumococcal Conjugate (PCV)
According to the CDC, before the preventative vaccine for this disease was introduced, children under the age of 5 registered the following infections per year:
· More than 700 cases of meningitis
· 13,000 blood infections
· About 5 million ear infections
These infections caused about 200 deaths per year before the vaccine.
The CDC recommends infants receive three doses of PCV at 4 months, 6 months, and between 12 and 15 months.
Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a highly contagious viral infection of the upper respiratory system.
People are generally the most contagious with the flu 24 hours before they start having symptoms, which is why it can hard to stop the spread of the flu, especially among children.
The CDC recommends infants receive the influenza vaccination at 6 months and each year after.
If you have any concerns about your child's health or his or her vaccine recommendations, please seek the advice of a medical professional.