Immunizations in Children
By Linda Ho, M.D.
Immunization is a critical step in the healthy development of your
children. Vaccines are responsible for preventing dangerous infections
that can result in disease, hospitalization, disability, and even
death. Following are some of the most common questions that parents ask about immunizations:
- What vaccines do children routinely need?
Routine immunizations protect children against:
- diphtheria (which can cause suffocation, heart failure and paralysis)
- pertussis (whooping cough)
- tetanus (lockjaw)
- polio (a paralyzing disease)
- Haemophilus Influenzae type b (a cause of meningitis, pneumonia and life-threatening airway infection)
- hepatitis B (a liver infection that can lead to cancer and death)
- measles (a serious disease that can lead to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and death)
- mumps (potentially causes hearing loss and brain infection)
- rubella (German measles)
- varicella (chickenpox)
- How do vaccines work?
They work by stimulating your body's defense system against infection.
- When should my child be immunized?
should receive most of his or her vaccinations by 18 months. The
schedule below reflects the year 2000 recommendations of the American
Academy of Pediatrics. Keep in mind that this is only a general
|Hepatitis B (if mother does not have hepatitis B)
||Birth to 2 months, 1 to 4 months, 6 to 18 months|
|Diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis (DTaP)
||2, 4, 6, 15-18 months and 4-6 years; Td booster at 11-12 years and then every 10 years|
|Haemophilus influenzae type B (HIB)
||2, 4, 6, and 12-15 months (with a few exceptions)|
||2, 4, and 6-18 months; 4-6 years|
|Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
||12-15 months; 4-6 years|
- How are these vaccines administered?
They are all given by injections.
- What are the more common side effects of vaccines?
These include pain, slight redness and swelling over the injection site. Fever, irritability, and rash may also occur.
- Are there any risks from vaccinations?
the risk of a serious problem is extremely small. When you compare the
risks from disease versus the risks from immunization, the choice to
vaccinate becomes very obvious. Please consult your pediatrician if you
By ensuring that your children are fully
immunized on time, you can protect them from vaccine-preventable
diseases that still pose a serious health problem today. Please
remember to bring your vaccination card with you to your pediatrician's