Shots for tots: immunizing your newborn to 6 year old
Adult and childhood vaccinations against infectious diseases have kept society healthier since they were created. They give our bodies the armor to fight off and defend against sickness. Without them, people could get really sick and possibly die. That is why getting your kids immunized early is an effective way to ensure they have the right tools to stay healthy.
Newborn immunizations start as early as the first 24 hours of birth. And according to most newborn vaccination schedules, the first year of birth is when many of your child’s immunizations should take place. The State of Oregon schedule of immunizations for children and the CDC immunization schedule are virtually the same. Both see vaccinations, especially vaccinations for infants, as being of paramount importance for stopping the spread of infectious diseases. CareOregon adheres to this schedule for our members. You can find it on several different languages on the Vaccines page of our website.
Here are the 10 recommended immunizations that appear on both the Oregon immunization schedule and the CDC, along with descriptions of each disease.
- Chickenpox. Chickenpox, or varicella, is a highly contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). It causes an itchy, blister-like rash that appears first on the chest, back, and face, and then spreads over the entire body. Other typical symptoms include fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, and headache. Chickenpox can be serious, especially in babies, adolescents, adults, pregnant women, and people with a weakened immune system. Some people who get chickenpox get a painful rash called shingles (also known as herpes zoster) later in life.
CDC recommends two doses of chickenpox vaccine for children, with the first dose at age 12-15 months and the second dose at age 4-6 years.
- DTaP. This is a combination of three different diseases in one vaccine: Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis. They are all potentially serious bacterial diseases that can be safely prevented with vaccines.
DIPHTHERIA (D) can lead to difficulty breathing, heart failure, paralysis, or death.
TETANUS (T) causes painful stiffening of the muscles. Tetanus can lead to serious health problems, including being unable to open the mouth, having trouble swallowing and breathing, or death.
PERTUSSIS (aP), also known as “whooping cough,” can cause uncontrollable, violent coughing that makes it hard to breathe, eat, or drink. Pertussis can be extremely serious especially in babies and young children, causing pneumonia, convulsions, brain damage, or death. In teens and adults, it can cause weight loss, loss of bladder control, passing out, and rib fractures from severe coughing.
CDC recommends that children receive 5 doses of DTaP, usually at the following ages:2, 4 and 6 months, 15-18 months and 4-6 years old.
- Hib. Haemophilus Influenza Type B (Hib) is a type of bacteria that can cause severe illness, including infections of the covering of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis), lung infections (pneumonia), and severe throat infections (epiglottitis). There are six Hib vaccines approved for use in the United States, three of which are combined with vaccines for other diseases.
CDC recommends 4 doses of Hib vaccine, usually at the following ages: 2, 4 and 6 months and 12-15 months.
- Hepatitis A. Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Although rare, hepatitis A can cause death in some people. It usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from food, drinks, or objects contaminated by feces from an infected person.
CDC recommends 2 doses of hepatitis A vaccine, given at least 6 months apart for children, starting at 1 yrs old.
- Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus. It is spread when infected blood, semen, or other body fluids enters the body of a person who is not infected. This can happen through sexual contact, sharing needles or other drug-injection equipment, or from mother to baby at birth. The virus can spread from an infected individual even if they do not look or feel sick.
CDC recommends 3 doses of hepatitis B vaccine for: all infants within 24 hours of birth, at 1-2 months and between 6-18 months.
- Flu. Influenza, or “the flu,” is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious complications of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at higher risk for developing serious flu complications. There are two main types of influenza (flu) viruses: Types A and B. Influenza A and B viruses that routinely spread in people (human influenza viruses) are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year.
CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every season.
- MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella). Measles causes fever, rash, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. Complications can include ear infection, diarrhea, pneumonia, brain damage, and death.
Mumps causes fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, and swollen salivary glands. Complications can include swelling of the testicles or ovaries, deafness, inflammation of the brain and/or tissue covering the brain and spinal cord (encephalitis/meningitis) and, rarely, death.
Rubella, causes fever, sore throat, rash, headache, and red, itchy eyes
CDC recommends 2 doses of MMR vaccine: First at 12-15 months; second at 4-6 years of age.
- Pneumococcal (PCV). Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, sometimes referred to as pneumococcus. Pneumococcus can cause many types of illnesses, including ear and sinus infections, pneumonia, and bloodstream infections.
CDC recommends 4 doses of Pneumococcal vaccine, usually at the following ages: 2, 4 and 6 months and 12-15 months.
- Polio. Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the poliovirus. The virus spreads from person to person and can infect a person’s spinal cord, causing paralysis. Most people who get polio don’t have any visible symptoms. To find out more about the symptoms, check out the CDC Polio page on their website.
CDC recommends 4 doses of polio vaccine at the following ages: 2, 4 and 6-18 months, and 4-6 years of age.
- Rotavirus. Rotavirus is a contagious virus that can cause gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines). Symptoms include severe watery diarrhea, often with vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain. Infants and young children are most likely to get rotavirus disease. They can become severely dehydrated and need to be hospitalized and can even die.
CDC recommends 3 doses of rotavirus vaccine, usually at the following ages: 2, 4 and 6 months.