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Vaccination Schedule

Many people worry about the amount of vaccinations their child gets and when they get them. Many people don’t know what vaccines their child should get, when they should get them and what they protect against.

I could just put a picture up her of the vaccination schedule and let you figure it out yourself, but to be honest, you can easily find this yourself on the CDC website. Instead, I thought I would actually tell you a little bit about each vaccine on the vaccination schedule so you can not only know when your child should get them, but what they will protect your child against.

Vaccination Schedule

Hepatitis B (HepB)

  • When is it given? It is given 3 times, at birth, between 1 and 2 months, and between 6 and 18 months of age.
  • What does it protect against and why does my child need protected against it? This vaccine protects against Hepatitis B, which is a virus that attacks the liver. Hepatitis B is often known as the silent killer because people who have the disease often do not show symptoms until years, even decades later.

Rotavirus (RV)

  • When is it given? Given at 2, 4, and 6 months of age, this vaccine is oral and not an injection.
  • What does it protect against and why does my child need protected against it? This vaccine protects against rotavirus. Rotavirus is a gastrointestinal virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea and in infants can quickly lead to severe dehydration.

Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP)

  • When is it given? It is given at 2, 4, and 6 months of age, with booster shots between 15 and 18 months and again between 4 and 6 years of age.
  • What does it protect against and why does my child need protected against it? It protects against Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis. Diphtheria causes a thick covering in the back of the throat and can lead to breathing issues, heart failure, paralysis, and even death. Tetanus is a potentially life-threatening condition. Tetanus is also known as lock-jaw and causes tightening of the muscles all over the body. Approximately 1 in 10 cases leads to death. Pertussis is also known as whooping cough and for infants can be life threatening. Pertussis causes the infant to cough so much that they can’t catch their breath. It is a highly contagious respiratory illness.

Haemophilus Influenzae type B (Hib)

  • When is it given? It is given at 2, 4, and 6 months, and between 12 and 15 months of age.
  • What does it protect against and why does my child need protected against it? This vaccine protects against Haemophilus Influenzae type B, which can cause severe infections such as meningitis. It is spread easily through droplets from the nose or mouth, therefore, just from coughing or sneezing. It can cause other illnesses as well, such as pneumonia and sepsis.

Pneumococcal (PCV)

  • When is it given? It is given at 2, 4, and 6 months, and between 12 and 15 months of age.
  • What does it protect against and why does my child need protected against it? It protects children from pneumococcal disease which can cause many different infections, ear infections, meningitis, pneumonia, and even infection of the blood.Pneumococcal meningitis can cause deafness and brain damage and unfortunately kills 1 in 10 children who develop the illness.

Polio (IPV)

  • When is it given? This vaccine is given at 2 and 4 months, between 6 and 18 months, and again between 4 and 6 years of age.
  • What does it protect against and why does my child need protected against it? Polio has been almost eradicated due to this vaccine. Polio causes muscle wasting and paralysis and mainly affects young children.

Influenza

  • When is it given? This vaccine is given yearly during flu season after 6 months of age. The first dose is divided into two.
  • What does it protect against and why does my child need protected against it? It protects against the flu, and not the stomach flu. Influenza is a respiratory illness and can be deadly to young babies and elderly individuals. The thought that the flu shot will give you the flu is a myth, if you end up sick after receiving the shot you were exposed to the illness before receiving the shot.

Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)

  • When is it given? This vaccine cannot be given until at least a year of age and is given between 12 and 18 months of age, then again between 4 and 6 years of age.
  • What does it protect against and why does my child need protected against it? It protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. Measles causes a full body rash with flu like symptoms, and is one of the leading causes of death in children globally. Mumps is characterized by swelling in the salivary glands causing the cheeks to puff out. In rare cases mumps can be deadly. Rubella, or German Measles, is a mild infection and once you have it you are generally immune for the rest of your life, but it is dangerous in pregnant women.

Varicella 

  • When is it given? This vaccine also cannot be given until your child is at least a year old. It is given between 12 and 18 months of age, then again between 4 and 6 years of age.
  • What does it protect against and why does my child need protected against it? This vaccine protects against chickenpox. While not a deadly or dangerous disease in itself, when the pox are scratched they can open, leaving your child open to getting an infection, which can become dangerous. It will also help to protect them from shingles when they are older.

Hepatitis A (HepA)

  • When is it given? This is given between 12 months and 2 years of age, ideally they should get 2 doses 6 to 18 months apart.
  • What does it protect against and why does my child need protected against it? It protects children from Hepatitis A. Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease which is transmitted via the stool of infected persons and in contaminated food or water.

Each one of these illnesses is preventable with vaccines and each one of these disease has the potential to cause permanent damage or even death.

There is a small risk of adverse reactions with vaccines, but the risk is minor compared to the risk if you child were to come in contact with any of these illnesses. Most reactions just include a little redness, swelling, or tenderness at the injection site which will go away in a day or two. Your child may also develop a fever, which is perfectly normal as the vaccine is eliciting a response from the immune system, and a fever is a natural immune response. In rare cases your child may have an anaphylactic reaction and this is usually due to the additives in the vaccine, for example, some vaccines cannot be given to those who are allergic to eggs.

Lastly, one of the biggest claims is that vaccines cause autism. This has been proven to be a false statement, and while we do not know what causes autism, there is no connection between vaccinations and autism.

Do you have any questions about vaccines or the vaccination schedule?

Thanks for reading, Cassie

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