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Home >  Information A-ZAll Kids Information Articles Baby Immunizations

Baby Immunizations:

From the time your baby is still a newborn, they will be receiving vaccinations. While these can be painful for your baby, and it can make the parent feel horrible for having to subject their little one to such pain, they are very necessary. When your child gets an immunization (which is technically a very small dose of the illness each shot prevents), it will help prevent them from contracting many bad diseases.

Most often, for babies and young children, the shots will consist of several in one visit, and they will be give in your baby's upper thigh. The following is a basic breakdown of what shots your baby will need and what they are for:

• DTaP—this is 3 vaccines in one. It contains the vaccines for Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis. Your child will get 5 separate doses of this throughout their life.

• Hib—this is the shot that prevents Haemophilus Influenzae type B (also known as Hib Disease). It is a bacterial disease that can lead to meningitis. Your child should receive 3 or 4 shots of this medication. For the comfort of your child, this vaccine can be combined in the same shot DTaP or Hepatitis B vaccine.

• IPV—this is the Inactivated Polio Vaccine recommended by the Centers For Disease Control. In limited cases, your child may otherwise receive OPV, which is Live Oral Polio Vaccine. Your child will eventually receive 4 doses of this.

• PCV—Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine. This vaccine helps give immunity to many strains of pneumococcal bacterium which cause bacterial meningitis. You child will usually receive 4 shots of this vaccine over time.

• MMR—this is a shot that helps prevent three more diseases—Measles, Mumps and Rubella. Your child will get this one twice.

• Varicella –this is the medical term for Chicken Pox. The Varicella vaccine is a live-virus vaccine licensed for use in the US in 1995. Your child may only get one of these, or they may receive two, it all depends on their age.

• Hepatitis A—this is a shot that is only recommended for people living in certain regions (regions where this disease is commonly found). If you live in one of these areas, your child will receive 2 of these vaccinations.

• Hep B—this shot will help prevent Hepatitis B. Your child will get 3 doses of this vaccine over time.

The following is a general schedule of when your child will receive these vaccinations:

2 months - DTaP, IPV, Hib, HepB, PCV
4 months - DTaP, IPV, Hib, HepB, PCV
6 months - DTaP, IPV, Hib, HepB, PCV
12 months - MMR, Varicella
15 months - DTaP, Hib, PCV
2 - 18 years - Hepatitis A series—remember this is only for children in certain areas
4 - 6 years - DTaP, IPV, MMR, Varicella

A few tips to keep in mind about immunizations:

• If you can't afford to take your child to the doctor for their vaccinations, you can take them to your nearest county or state sponsored health clinic. These often have certain days of every month that they provide shots to children for free.

• If your child is ill the day before or the day of their scheduled shots, be sure to tell your health care provider. Some shots shouldn't be given to a sick child, so this is a very important thing to do.

• Give your child pain medication about 30 minutes before their appointment. Shots tend to make a child slightly ill with fever, and their leg will hurt, so giving them the medicine in advance can help it already be in effect by the time they need it.

•Massage their leg during the days after the shot. This may not work with all babies; in fact, many babies would prefer you not touch it. But, if your child seems to be in pain from the shot site, massaging it might help a little.

While it may be very hard for a parent to take their child to receive these shots, these immunizations can prevent deadly illnesses.

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