Recommended Immunization Schedule for Ages 0-6 Years
In the United States, routine vaccines are recommended in children between ages 0 and 6 years to prevent a number of serious or even deadly diseases. This article will review the recommended timing and dose of these vaccines.
Diphtheria, Tetanus, & Pertussis (DTaP) Vaccine
DTaP vaccine protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and peruses:
The DTaP vaccination is given in five injections, usually at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months, and 4 to 6 years. Later, at age 11 or 12, a child should be given a Td booster, for tetanus and diphtheria, if at least 5 years have elapsed since the last DTaP dose. This Td booster should then be given every 10 years. Sometimes a child will experience mild side effects after DTaP is given, such as fever, soreness, crankiness, drowsiness, and loss of appetite. The pertussis portion of the vaccine causes most of these reactions. These problems were seen more frequently in the past with the previously used version of the vaccine (DTP). Today, the AAP recommends the use of the newly developed form of the vaccine (DTaP), which contains only certain parts of the pertussis cell instead of the entire killed
Hepatitis B Vaccine
A hepatitis B vaccine (HBV) will probably be your child’s first immunization. The vaccine is given in three rounds. If an infant’s mother is a hepatitis B carrier, the baby must receive the first shot within 12 hours of birth, along with an injection of hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) to help fight infection of the infant at birth. Otherwise, the first immunization is usually given either in the hospital before the newborn goes home or delayed until the baby is four to eight weeks old.
The second and third shots are usually given with the other routine childhood immunizations. If the first shot is given shortly after birth, the second is given at one to two months, and the final dose is given at six months. If the first shot is given at four to eight weeks, the second dose is usually given at three to four months, and the final dose is given when the child is six to eighteen months old. Your child may develop fever or redness and soreness at the site of the injection.There are few serious problems associated with the HBV. The vaccination should be delayed if your child is sick with anything other than a minor illness or cold or if he has had a severe allergic reaction to baker’s yeast. If he develops a severe allergic reaction after a dose of HBV, talk to your child’s doctor. Further doses may not be given.
Hemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib) Vaccine
Children who receive the Hib vaccine are protected against meningitis, pneumonia, and other infections caused by the Hemophilus influenzae type b bacteria.The vaccine is given at ages 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months. At ages 12 to 15 months, a child receives a booster shot. The possible side effects include fever and soreness at the site of injection. Your child’s doctor will probably advise delaying the vaccine if your child is sick with anything more serious than a cold or if she experienced an allergic reaction after an earlier Hib dose.
Pneumococcus (Streptococcus pneumoniae) is the most common cause of severe bacterial diseases such as meningitis, bloodstream infection, and otitis media (middle ear infection). Until recently, the only available pneumococcal vaccine worked only for those over age two, leaving many of the children at highest risk for these infections without an effective vaccine to protect them. However, a newly developed biosynthetic pneumococcal vaccine, trade name Prevnar, was recently released and has been recommended by the AAP for routine immunization of infants and children. The recommended schedule includes four doses given at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 12 to 15 months. If your child is over two years old and has a chronic illness (such as a lung condition or sickle-cell anemia), consult your child’s doctor to see if your child might benefit from this vaccine.
Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine
The inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) is given as protection against polio—a gastrointestinal viral infection that can affect the nervous system and cause permanent paralysis. IPV is given by injection at 2 months, 4 months, 6 to 18 months, and four to six years. The possible side effects include fever, soreness at the site of injection, and rash. However, the vaccine should not be given to people who are allergic to the antibiotics neomycin, streptomycin, or polymyxin B because these are used in the preparation of the vaccine.
The varicella vaccine protects children against chicken pox—a common viral illness that almost all children came down with in the past. Varicella causes the characteristic itchy, blistering rash and fever. Complications of the infection can include secondary bacterial skin and bloodstream infections, pneumonia, and encephalitis. Prior to the introduction of the vaccine, chicken pox was a major cause of missed school for children and missed workdays for their parents. The vaccine is given between ages 12 and 18 months.
It prevents chicken pox in 70 to 90 percent of children, and if a child still does get the disease after receiving the vaccine, it’s usually a mild case. Serious reactions are rare, although a child may experience soreness, fever, fatigue, and a rash, which may occur up to a month after vaccination and will go away on its own. Immunization should be delayed if your child has more than a mild illness, has a serious allergy (more than a slight rash) to neomycin or gelatin, has received gamma globulin or a blood or plasma transfusion in the past three months, or has immune system problems.
Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine
The MMR vaccine is given by injection in two doses: one at 12 to 15 months and the second at four to six years. It gives 90 percent of children protection against these childhood illnesses. Some children develop a rash and occasionally a slight fever about a week after vaccination; it usually goes away in a few days. Your child’s doctor may recommend delaying or not giving the MMR vaccine if your child has more than a minor illness; has a serious allergy (more than just a mild rash) to neomycin; has received gamma globulin in the past three months; has immune system problems related to cancer, leukemia, or lymphoma; or is taking steroids (such as prednisone). In the past, doctors sometimes worried about giving measles vaccine to individuals who were allergic to eggs. Experts now believe, however, that the risk of a serious allergic reaction to MMR vaccine is low in this group.