Vaccination Schedules

Vaccinations are most often administered in early childhood. That's because many diseases are common in young children and since youngsters' immune systems are still developing, they need the extra protection afforded by vaccination to keep them healthy. Some states won't allow your children entrance to daycare, schools, and camps unless you can provide proof that they have received standard vaccinations.

Current Schedules

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) acts in an advisory position to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The main role of this committee is to provide a template for current vaccination schedules. These schedules are based upon the earliest possible time a person is liable to respond to an antigen as well as the time when a person is most liable to come down with a given disease. Here is a schedule for the most common types of childhood vaccinations in current use:  

*Hepatitis B

First Dose: Birth to 2 months

Second Dose: 1-4 months

Third Dose: 6-18 months

11-12 years (where indicated)

*Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTaP)

First Dose: 2 months

Second Dose: 4 months

Third Dose: 6 months

Fourth Dose: 15 months

Fifth Dose: 4-6 years

Booster shot: 11-12 years (tetanus and diphtheria)

*Haemophilus Influenza Type B (Hib)

First Dose: 2 months

Second Dose: 4 months

Third Dose: 6 months

Fourth Dose: 12-15 months

*Inactivated Polio (IPV)

First Dose: 2 months

Second Dose 4 months

Third Dose: 6-18 months

Fourth Dose: 4-6 years

*Pneumococcal (PCV7)

First Dose: 2 months

Second Dose: 4 months

Third Dose 6 months

Booster: 12-15 months

*Measles, Mumps, Rubella

First Dose: 12-15 months

Second Dose: 4-6 years

11-12 years (if not given earlier)

*Chickenpox (Varicella)

First Dose: 12-18 months

11-12 years (if not given earlier)

Later Years

There are other vaccinations that must be given in later years, for instance, the influenza vaccine. Influenza affects some 5-20% of Americans every year, which makes it among the most common contagious infections in America. Getting the flu shot in October or November, before flu season hits, is your best protection against the flu. The flu season lasts from October to May.

The CDC has recommended that those in high risk categories for getting the flu, those with chronic disease, or people over the age of 50 get a flu shot every year. The flu vaccine is subject to annual change since the virus mutates with ease and becomes resistant to prior vaccines. Last year's flu vaccine won’t protect you against this year's flu.

Chronic Conditions

The CDC's Advisory Committee for Immunization Practice (ACIP), the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians have all recommended that all children between 6-23 months should have annual flu shots. Children, no matter their age, who suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, or cystic fibrosis, as well as those on a long-term regimen of aspirin therapy for diseases like Kawasaki disease, should also receive an annual flu shot. Some studies have show that the vaccine can lower your risk for flu by as much as 80% during the flu season.

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