Immunizations

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) believes that vaccines are one of the most successful medical advances of all time. We agree that vaccines are among the most life-saving interventions of modern medicine. Many devastating diseases today we never see because children have been vaccinated. However, some diseases are re-emerging because immunization practices have fallen off at times. We understand that you may have questions about vaccinations. Please feel free to ask us.

Our office suggested immunization schedule and well child visits:

  • 3-5 Day: HBV #1
  • 2 Week
  • 1 Month: (After HBV #1) HBV #2
  • 2 Month: Pentacel #1, Prevnar #1, Rotateq #1
  • 4 Month: Pentacel #2, Prevnar #2, Rotateq #2
  • 6 Month: Pentacel #1, Prevnar #3, Rotateq #3
  • 9 Month: HBV #3
  • 12 Month: MMR #1, Prevnar #4, HepA #1
  • 15 Month: Pentacel #4, VZV #1
  • 18 Month: HepA #2
  • 2 Year: Catch Up Shots
  • 2 1/2 Year: Catch Up Shots
  • Yearly Physicals At Age 3: Flu
  • 4-5 Years: DTaP #5, IPV #4, MMR #2, VZV #2
  • 11 Years: Menactra, Tdap, HPV
  • 16 Years: Menactra #2

Hepatitis B (HBV) Vaccine

Hepatitis B is a serious disease caused by a virus that affects the liver. The disease can cause acute symptoms such as loss of appetite, diarrhea and vomiting, tiredness, jaundice (yellow skin or eyes), and pain in muscles, joints, and stomach. Some people also develop chronic illness from hepatitis B which can lead to liver damage (cirrhosis), liver cancer, or death.

Hepatitis B virus is spread through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person. The AAP and CDC recommend all children receive their first dose of hepatitis B vaccine at birth and complete the series of three shots by 6-18 months of age.

Rotavirus Vaccine

Rotavirus is a virus that causes severe vomiting and diarrhea, mostly in babies and young children. Many babies and children become dehydrated and visit emergency rooms or are admitted to hospitals for rehydration.

Rotavirus vaccine is an oral (swallowed) vaccine that is not given by injection. About 98% of children who get the vaccine are protected against severe rotavirus diarrhea and about 74% do not get rotavirus diarrhea at all. The AAP and CDC recommend that children should receive the rotavirus vaccine. Rotavirus vaccine is given in 3 doses at each of the following ages: 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months. The first dose should be given between 6 and 12 weeks of age, and all three doses should be completed by 32 weeks of age.

Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP) Vaccines

Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis are serious diseases caused by bacteria. Diphtheria and pertussis are spread from person to person, while tetanus enters the body through cuts or wounds.

Diphtheria can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure, and even death. Tetanus (lockjaw) causes painful tightening of the muscles all over the body, but can cause "locking" of the jaw so the victim cannot open the mouth or swallow. Pertussis (whooping cough) causes coughing spells that can last for weeks or months. Infants can have a hard time eating, drinking, or breathing because of the severity of the cough. Pertussis can lead to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and death.

The AAP and CDC recommend that all children receive DTaP (a much safer version than the older DTP vaccine). Children should receive 5 doses of DTaP vaccine, one dose at each of the following ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months, and 4-6 years.

Haemophilus Influenza Type b (Hib) Vaccine

Hib disease is a serious bacterial illness affecting children under 5 years of age. Before the Hib vaccine, Hib disease was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis among children under 5 years in the United States. Meningitis is an infection of the brain and spinal cord coverings, which can lead to brain damage, deafness, or death. Hib disease can also cause: 1) pneumonia, 2) severe throat swelling making it hard to breathe, 3) infection of blood, joints, bones, or covering of the heart, and 4) death.

The AAP and CDC recommend that all children receive the Hib vaccine. Children should receive 4 doses of Hib vaccine, one dose at each of the following ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 12-15 months.

Pneumococcal Conjugate (PCV) Vaccine

Streptococcus pneumonia is a bacteria that causes serious illness and even death. This bacteria is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in the United States. It also causes blood infections, pneumonia, ear infections, deafness, and brain damage. Children under that age of 2 are at the highest risk for serious disease. Pneumococcal infections can also be difficult to treat because the bacteria have become resistant to some of the antibiotics that have been used to treat them.

PCV vaccine can help prevent meningitis, blood infections, and some ear infections. The AAP and CDC recommend that all children under the age of 2 receive the PCV vaccine. Children under age 2 should receive 4 doses of PCV vaccine, one dose at each of the following ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 12-15 months. Children between ages 2 and 5 who have not gotten the vaccine and fall into one of the following categories should also receive the vaccine: 1) have sickle cell disease, 2) have a damaged spleen or no spleen, 3) have HIV/AIDS, 4) have other diseases that affect the immune system, such as diabetes, cancer, or liver disease, 5) take medications that affect the immune system, such as chemotherapy or steroids, and 5) have chronic heart or lung disease.

Polio (IPV) Vaccine

Polio is a viral disease that enters the body through the mouth. Disease can range from mild to serious, such as paralysis (unable to move arm or leg). People who get this disease can die, usually by paralyzing the muscles that help them breathe.

Polio used to be common in the United States but is now only common in some parts of the world. There are two types of polio vaccine (live and inactive). Only the inactive (IPV) vaccine is currently recommended in the United States. The AAP and CDC recommend that children receive 4 doses of IPV at the following ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6-18 months, and 4-6 years.

Influenza (Flu) Vaccine

The influenza vaccination is the primary method for preventing flu and its severe complications. The vaccination is associated with reduction in influenza-related respiratory illnesses, physician's office visits, hospitalizations and deaths, ear infections among children, and work and school absenteeism.

The flu vaccination is strongly recommended by the AAP and CDC for all children 6 months of age and older who wish to avoid influenza.

The CDC states that influenza season begins in October. The best time to vaccinate is in October and November; however, vaccination in December or later can still be beneficial. Please call our office in October to make an appointment for your child's flu vaccination.

Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccines

Measles is a virus that causes rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation, and fever. Complications of the measles virus include ear infections, pneumonia, seizures (jerking and staring), brain damage, and death. Mumps virus causes fever, headache, and swollen glands. Infection with this virus can lead to deafness, meningitis (infection of the brain and spinal cord covering), painful swelling of the testicles or ovaries, and rarely, death. Rubella, or German measles, is a virus that causes rash, mild fever, and arthritis (mostly in women). If a woman becomes infected with rubella when she is pregnant, she could have a miscarriage or her baby could be born with serious birth defects. These diseases are spread from person to person through the air.

The CDC and AAP recommend that children receive 2 doses of MMR vaccine. The MMR vaccine is given at the following ages: first dose at 12-15 months and second dose at 4-6 years of age. Children can receive the second dose at any age as long as it is at least 28 days after the first dose.

Chickenpox (Varicella or VZV) Vaccine

Chickenpox, also called varicella, is a common childhood disease. The disease is usually mild, but it can be serious, especially in young children and adults. It causes a rash, itching, fever, and tiredness. Chickenpox can lead to severe skin infections, scars, pneumonia, brain damage, or death. Before the vaccine, about 11,000 people were hospitalized for chickenpox each year in the United States and 100 people died each year.

The chickenpox virus can be spread from person to person through the air, or by contact with fluid from chickenpox blisters. A person who has had chickenpox can develop a painful rash called shingles years later.

The CDC and AAP recommend that children who have never had chickenpox receive 2 doses of the vaccine at the following ages: first dose at 12-15 months and second dose at 4-6 years of age. The second dose of vaccine can be given earlier if it is at least 3 months after the first dose.

Hepatitis A (HAV) Vaccine

Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. This virus is found in the stool of persons with the disease. It is usually spread by close personal contact and sometimes by eating food or drinking water containing the virus.

Hepatitis A can cause mild "flu-like" illness, jaundice (yellow skin or eyes), and severe stomach pains and diarrhea.

The AAP and CDC recommend that all children between the ages of 12 months and 18 years be vaccinated with hepatitis A vaccine. Two doses should be given at least 6 months apart.

Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Tdap) Vaccine

Tetanus (lockjaw) causes painful muscle spasms, usually all over the body. Furthermore, it can lead to tightening of the jaw muscles so the victim cannot open his mouth or swallow. Tetanus kills about 1 out of 5 people who are infected. Diphtheria causes a thick covering in the back of the throat that can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure, and even death. Pertussis (whooping cough) causes severe coughing spells, vomiting, and disturbed sleep. This can lead to weight loss, incontinence, rib fractures, and passing out from violent coughing.

These three diseases are all caused by bacteria. Diphtheria and pertussis are spread from person to person while tetanus enters the body through cuts, scratches, or wounds. Td vaccine has been used for many years. It protects against tetanus and diphtheria. Tdap was licensed in 2005, and this was the first vaccine for adolescents and adults that protects against all three diseases.

A dose of Tdap is recommended for adolescents who got DTaP or DTP as children and have not gotten a booster dose of Td. The preferred age is 11-12 years. Adolescents who have already received a booster dose of Td are encouraged to get a dose of Tdap as well to protect against pertussis. Waiting at least 5 years between Td and Tdap is encouraged, but not required.

Meningococcal Vaccine

Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial illness. It is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children ages 2 through 18 years in the United States. Meningitis is an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Meningococcal disease can also cause blood infections.

About 1,000 to 2,600 people get meningococcal disease each year in the United States. Even when treated with antibiotics, 10-15% of these people die. Of those who survive, possible complications include loss of arms or legs, deafness, problems with the nervous system, mental retardation, or seizures or strokes.

Anyone can develop meningococcal disease. However, it is most common in infants less than one year of age and people without spleens. College freshmen who live in dormitories and teenagers ages 15-19 have an increased risk of getting the disease.

Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) has been available since 2005. It is the preferred vaccine for people ages 2 through 55 years of age. MCV4 can prevent 4 types of meningococcal disease but does not prevent all types of meningococcal disease. A dose of MCV4 is recommended for all children and adolescents ages 11 though 18 years of age.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine

Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States. HPV is spread through sexual contact. Most HPV infections don't cause any symptoms and go away on their own. However, HPV is important because it can cause cervical cancer in women. This is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women around the world.

HPV can also cause genital warts and warts in the upper respiratory tract. There is no treatment for HPV infection, but the conditions it causes can be treated.

HPV vaccine is recommended for girls 11-12 years of age. It is important for girls to receive the vaccine before their first sexual contact (before they are exposed to the virus). If a female is already infected with a type of HPV, the vaccine will not prevent disease from that type.

HPV vaccine is given as a 3 dose series: 1st dose around 11-12 years, 2nd dose 2 months after dose 1, and 3rd dose 6 months after dose 1.