Vaccines: Keep your child's shots on track
Vaccines: Keep your child's shots on track
The vaccine schedule is designed to ensure that children receive vaccines at the optimal time to protect them from infectious diseases. The schedule is updated every year, and changes range from the addition of a new vaccine to tweaks of current recommendations.
Given the schedule's complexity and frequent updates, it can be challenging for parents to stay on top of which vaccines their children need and when. Use this guide to find out which vaccines your child needs now and which vaccines are coming up based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If your child has health issues, such as HIV or diabetes, or if you're planning to travel outside the U.S., talk to your doctor about whether your child needs to follow a different vaccine schedule.
If your child misses a dose of a vaccine, ask your child's doctor about scheduling a catch-up vaccination. If you're ever unsure about which vaccines your child needs, don't hesitate to ask the doctor. You might also ask about combination vaccines to reduce the number of shots in a single visit.
The first dose of the hepatitis B vaccine is usually given at birth. A second dose may be given at age 1 month or at 2 months when other vaccinations are typically given.
Age 2 months
At age 2 months, a series of several vaccinations usually begins. Combination vaccines are generally used to reduce the number of shots.
Age 4 months
At age 4 months, follow-up doses of the vaccines administered at 2 months are usually given. Check with your child's doctor about catch-up vaccinations if your child is behind schedule or has missed any doses of vaccines.
Age 6 months
At age 6 months, a third round of vaccinations is given. A yearly seasonal influenza (flu) vaccine also is recommended beginning at age 6 months and continuing through age 18 years. For children younger than age 2 years, the influenza vaccine is given as a shot. The first time a child receives the vaccine, it's usually divided into two doses. Ask your child's doctor for details.
Ages 12 to 18 months
The final doses of both Hib vaccine and PCV13 are usually given between ages 12 and 15 months. The fourth dose of DTaP is usually given between ages 15 and 18 months. However, in some cases, the fourth dose can be given as early as age 12 months — as long as it's been six months since the previous dose.
In addition, the first doses of MMR, varicella and hepatitis A vaccines are usually given at this time. The second dose of the hepatitis A vaccine can be given between ages 12 months and 23 months — as long as it's been six months since the previous dose.
Ages 2 to 3 years
For healthy children ages 2 years and older, the yearly influenza vaccine can be given as a shot or a nasal spray.
Children between ages 14 months and 59 months (4 years, 11 months) who completed the PCV series with a previous version of the vaccine may need a single additional dose of the new version (PCV13) — as long as it's been eight weeks since the most recent dose of PCV.
Ages 4 to 6 years
The final doses of DTaP, IPV, MMR and varicella vaccines are usually given before a child begins kindergarten.
Ages 7 to 10 years
Children who are behind schedule or have missed one or more doses of vaccines may need catch-up vaccinations. For example, children who haven't been fully vaccinated against pertussis need a dose of Tdap. Ask your child's doctor if your child needs any catch-up vaccinations.
Ages 11 to 12 years
Single doses of Tdap and MCV4 are recommended for adolescents at age 11 or 12 years. In addition, HPV vaccination is recommended for both boys and girls at age 11 or 12 — although it can be given as early as age 9. It's given as a series of three injections over a six-month period.
Ages 16 to 18 years
A booster dose of MCV4 is recommended for adolescents at age 16 years. An additional dose of Tdap is recommended for adolescents who are pregnant, regardless of the number of years since prior Tdap or tetanus and diphtheria toxoids (Td) vaccination.
Last Updated: 2013-03-21
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