Why Childhood Immunizations Are Important

By: Tori Bowlin

August 16, 2021

Doctor and little boy patient elbow bumping prior to flu shot

Immunizations (vaccines) save the lives of thousands of children and adults annually, protecting us from illnesses that can lead to disease, hospital stays, life-long complications and even death. Not only do immunizations protect the persons receiving the vaccine, but through herd immunity, vaccines protect children that are unable to get vaccines due to illness or age and our elderly community members whose immunities may have declined. Vanessa Slots, M.D., offers insight on the importance of immunizations.

Immunizations Your Child Needs (and when)

Birth to 6 Months

  • Hepatitis B: Shortly after birth, first vaccine dose
  • Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP), Polio, Haemophilus Influenza (HiB), Pneumonia, Hepatitis B and Rotavirus: Ages 2, 4 and 6 months, boosters and vaccines

One Year to 18 Months

  • MMR and Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine: Age 1, first vaccine dose
  • Hepatitis A, HiB and Pneumonia: Age 1, booster
  • DTaP: 15 months, fourth vaccine dose
  • Hepatitis, second dose: 18 months
  • Flu Vaccine: 6 months and older, annually*
*In the year after receiving their first dose, an infant will need a booster one month later.

Four Years Old

  • MMRV, DTaP and Polio, final dose: Four years of age

Pre-Teen and Beyond

  • Tdap and Meningitis: Before starting middle school, children receive these vaccines. They are also old enough to start the HPV vaccine, an essential vaccine for all young adults to protect against cancer, genital warts and cervical dysplasia.

Any tips on preparing my child for an immunization?

Often, parents worry about side effects such as pain, redness, tenderness at the injection site and flu-like symptoms. However, studies have shown that giving your child Tylenol before vaccines can decrease their effectiveness. Based on those studies, we recommend that parents/caregivers wait until after vaccines, and only if symptoms develop, before giving the child Tylenol or Ibuprofen.

Do vaccinations wear off?

Many vaccines provide life-long immunity, while others wear off over time. Vaccines are given to children when they are at the most risk of contracting the diseases and at the highest risk of severe complications. So even if immunity wanes over time, it is crucial to give all vaccines on time (as directed above) to protect our children.

Always consult your medical provider

Vaccines are incredibly safe and effective. In fact, they are studied and monitored more than any other medication before being approved. Study after study has proven that vaccines do not cause autism or any other neurological side effects

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation available on the internet and social media websites that can confuse parents. If you have questions about vaccines, please speak with your medical provider.

Recommended Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule for ages 18 years or younger, United States, 2021. Plus, important COVID-19 Vaccination information.

View Schedule

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