Vaccines help prevent disease. Babies born in the United States may have their first vaccine right after birth. Future vaccines are given at well child check-ups with your child’s doctor or at a local health department. Vaccines are often given at these ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 12 months, 15-18 months, 4-6 years, and 11-12 years. Vaccines are needed for children to enroll in school.
Vaccines are also called immunizations. They are often given as injections or shots with a needle. Some vaccines need to be given in more than one dose over time. The full number of doses for each vaccine must be completed for the vaccine to protect your child from the disease.
If vaccines are given on schedule, they help protect against these serious diseases:
• Hepatitis B
• Pertussis, also called whooping cough
• Haemophilus influenzae type b
• Varicella, also called chickenpox
• Meningococcal infection
• Pneumococcal infection
• Influenza, also called the flu
• Hepatitis A
If your child has not had vaccines to prevent these diseases, check with your child’s doctor or local health department to get the needed
vaccines. The Vaccines for Children Program provides free vaccines to children who do not have health insurance. Your child’s doctor will talk to
you about what vaccines your child needs, how many doses and when the doses are to be given.
Ask for written information about a vaccine from your child’s doctor or nurse.
After Getting a Vaccine
Some children will be fussy, have redness and swelling where the shot was given, or a fever. This is normal. Call your child’s doctor right away if your child has any of these problems:
• A fever taken under the arm over 100 degrees F or 38 degrees C
• Seizures or muscle spasms
• Trouble waking from sleep
• Constant crying for more than 3 hours
Bring your child’s vaccine record with you each time you visit your child’s doctor or your local health department. Keep your child’s vaccine record so you will have it for:
• Women, Infants and Children (WIC) visits, a food aid program
• Head Start, a preschool program
• Day Care
Talk to your child’s doctor or nurse if you have any questions or concerns.