A vaccine, or immunization, is a medicine given to a person so that he produces antibodies against a certain infection. These antibodies then serve to help prevent the infection.
In the US, vaccines have resulted in record-low levels of certain childhood diseases. Vaccines do not only protect the person they are given to, but also the population at large, since they work to reduce the general prevalence of once-common infections.
The following infections can be prevented by vaccination:
The following vaccines are recommended in children who are at average risk for these infections:
The table below summarizes when children of average risk should receive certain vaccinations. You may print the table and use the “Date received” column to track when your child receives each vaccine.
|Age||Recommended vaccines||Date received|
|Yearly after 6 months|
Certain “high-risk” children may need to receive additional vaccinations and/or doses. Also, if your child missed one or more vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended times for “catch-up” immunizations. Talk to the doctor to find out if this applies to your child.
Childhood vaccines are generally very safe. Some children may experience mild adverse events at the time of the vaccine, including fever, soreness at the vaccine site, or a lump under the skin where the shot was given.
The small risk of serious adverse events is far outweighed by the disease-preventing benefits of vaccines in most cases. However, there are some situations in which children should not receive certain vaccines. Examples of these situations include children who
Talk with the doctor to find out if it is safe to have your child vaccinated.
American Academy of Pediatrics
Childhood Immunization Support Program
Vaccines and Immunizations
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Public Health Agency of Canada
Childhood vaccines: what they are and why your child needs them. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/028.xml . Updated December 2010. Accessed July 29, 2012.
Human papillomavirus vaccine. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated June 19, 2012. Accessed July 29, 2012.
Immunization schedules. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/ . Updated May 31, 2012. Accessed July 29, 2012.
Recommended immunization schedule for persons aged 0 through 6 years: United States 2012. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/child/0-6yrs-schedule-pr.pdf. Updated 2012. Accessed September 18, 2012.
Recommended immunization schedules for persons aged 7-18 years—United States, 2012. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/downloads/child/7-18yrs-schedule-pr.pdf. Accessed February 16, 2012.
Vaccine information statement: influenza vaccine: inactivated. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-flu.pdf. Updated July 2, 2012. Accessed September 18, 2012.
Vaccine information statement: influenza vaccine: live, intranasal. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-flulive.pdf. Updated July 2, 2012. Accessed September 18, 2012.
Vaccine-preventable childhood diseases. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/child-vpd.htm . Updated February 25, 2012. Accessed July 29, 2012.
Varicella (Chickenpox) Vaccination. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/varicella/default.htm . Updated April 5, 2012. Accessed July 29, 2012.
9/18/2012 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Prevention and control of influenza with vaccines: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) - United States, 2012-13 influenza season. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2012;61:613-618.
Last reviewed July 2012 by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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