Thanks to immunizations, a majority of children in the United States lead healthier lives nowadays, and parents are able to worry less about childhood illnesses. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have designed an immunization schedule to ensure children receive vaccinations at the ideal time to help protect them against certain illnesses.
Vaccinations are one of the safest and most effective strategies for preventing serious diseases. Each year, top disease experts and pediatric doctors work together to decide which vaccinations are necessary to best protect children. The schedule is carefully assessed using the most up-to-date scientific information available and is then approved by the AAP, the CDC, and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). It ensures children receive the necessary vaccinations at the most suitable time.
Which Vaccinations Will My Child Need?
Your pediatrician will advise you exactly which vaccinations your child requires and when they need them to effectively protect them from diseases and infections. The vaccination schedule begins at birth when your child will receive their first dose of the Hepatitis B vaccine and will continue up to the age of 18. Although in rare cases, there may be exceptions that will prevent your child from having a particular vaccination, such as if they have a weakened immune system, the following vaccinations are recommended for most healthy children:
- Hepatitis (Hep) B vaccine
- Rotavirus (RV) vaccine
- DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis) vaccine
- Haemophilus (Hib) vaccine
- Pneumococcal (PCV13) vaccine
- Inactivated poliovirus (IPV) vaccine
- Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine
- Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine
- Hepatitis (Hep) A vaccine
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine
- Meningococcal (MenACWY and MenB) vaccine
- Pneumococcal vaccine
- The COVID-19 vaccination – recommended for some adolescents
The influenza (flu) vaccine should be given yearly to protect your child from the latest strain of influenza.
Why Is Getting Scheduled Vaccines So Important?
Vaccines protect both children and adults from viruses and bacteria that can cause potentially devastating harm. Delaying, refusing, or missing a vaccine can be harmful and dangerous to not just your own child and family, but it can also make entire communities, such as children too young to benefit from vaccines and those who cannot get a vaccine due to a medical condition, more vulnerable to potentially life-threatening diseases.
The recommended schedule of immunizations has been extensively researched and documented to be the safest and most effective way to protect children from preventable diseases and infections. Each vaccine is carefully timed to provide optimal protection when children are considered most vulnerable and when the vaccine will produce the strongest response from the child’s immune system. Therefore, ensuring children have timely vaccinations helps to safeguard them and prevent any gaps in their shield of protection.
Should All Children Get Vaccinated?
In rare cases, vaccination may not be suitable for a child or it may need to be delayed. This may be the case if a child has an allergy to a particular ingredient within the vaccine, they have a chronic condition, such as leukemia, or are taking certain medications that weaken their immune system. Before a vaccine, the pediatrician will thoroughly assess your child’s medical history to ensure they are able to receive the vaccination at the appropriate time.
Why Do Some Vaccines Need More Than One Dose?
For some vaccines, more than one dose is necessary to fully protect your child against a particular disease. The timing between each dose is carefully evaluated to ensure the vaccine provides the greatest level of protection at the right time.
Child Vaccinations in St. Petersburg/Tampa, Florida
To keep your child healthy and up-to-date with their vaccinations, visit the Children’s Medical Center in Tampa/St. Petersburg. Our caring and compassionate pediatricians provide comprehensive health care for patients from birth to age 18.
To learn more about our pediatric services, contact us at one of our four convenient office locations in Palm Harbor, Trinity, Westchase, and Lutz. You can also schedule a consultation online using our convenient online request form.