Children are susceptible to many diseases because their immune systems have yet to develop fully. Getting your child vaccinated is therefore essential in providing immunity and greatly lowering their risk of getting sick.
However, you can’t simply receive vaccinations whenever you feel like it. Your child’s pediatrician will generally follow the guidance provided by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and their recommended immunization schedule for different age groups, because our immune systems tend to respond differently to vaccines at various ages. Thus, being on schedule is vital to preventing complications and providing early and long-term protection.
If you’d like to know the various scheduled vaccinations, we’re here to help. Let’s talk about the right age for the right vaccine for your children, and where you can go in the Tampa Bay area to get reliable vaccines.
When Should My Child Be Vaccinated?
Your child should be vaccinated for the following infections at these ages:
Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus. People who have been infected with this virus as babies have a 90% chance of developing chronic conditions later, such as liver cancer. The hepatitis B vaccine is the first scheduled vaccine for children and is administered in three shots.
Infants usually receive the first dose within 24 hours of their birth. The second is given at about 1–2 months. They will receive the third dose at about 6–18 months of age.
Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis
Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (DTaP) is a combination vaccine which is administered in a series of five doses. The first dose is given at 2 months, the second dose at 4 months, the third dose at 6 months, the fourth dose at about 15 months, and the fifth at about 5 years of age.
It prevents serious illness from the following:
- Diphtheria – This serious throat infection can block the airway, thus causing breathing problems and heart failure.
- Tetanus – This is a nerve disease caused by toxin-producing bacteria contaminating a wound.
- Pertussis – Also known as “whooping cough,” this is a respiratory illness that causes violent coughing fits and difficulty in breathing.
Four doses of the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) helps to prevent polio, which is a virus that can cause permanent paralysis and even death. The first dose is given at 2 months, the second at 4 months, the third at about 6 months, and the fourth dose at about 5 years.
Haemophilus Influenzae Type B
Haemophilus influenzae type B bacteria (Hib) causes meningitis, ear infections, and pneumonia. It also used to be a common cause of ear, lung, blood, skin, and joint infections in children. The four doses are given at the age of 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 12 months.
Measles, Mumps, Rubella
Children get two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) combination vaccine at 12 months and 5 years of age. Individuals who receive the vaccination against these viruses are protected for life from the following:
- Measles, which causes fever, cough, runny nose, and a rash that covers the entire body. It may lead to seizures, pneumonia, diarrhea, and even death in rare cases.
- Mumps, which causes fever, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, and swollen or tender salivary glands under the ears. It can result in deafness as well as swelling of the brain or spinal cord.
- Rubella, whose symptoms include red rash, headaches, fever, sore throat, and eye irritation. Pregnant women who have rubella may miscarry, or the baby could have developmental delays and sensory defects.
The pneumococcal vaccine prevents diseases such as meningitis, pneumonia, and sepsis, which are caused by the bacterium streptococcus pneumoniae. The four doses of the vaccine are given at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 12 months of age. Adults aged 65 years and older are also recommended to get the vaccine.
Likewise, children over 2 years old and adults with conditions that affect their immune systems can also receive the vaccine.
The influenza vaccine is recommended for children 6 months and older, and it must be given annually thereafter – just as it is recommended in adults. After the first time your child gets the flu vaccine, they will receive a second dose 4 weeks later. It’s given either by injection with a needle (flu shot) or nasal spray.
This vaccine protects against hepatitis A, which is a serious liver disease. Two doses are given at the age of 12 months, then around 6 months later. However, it can also be given as early as 6 months of age for babies who will travel to places where hepatitis A is common.
Everyone who is eligible should get the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) vaccine, as it helps reduce the risk of getting the COVID-19 virus and developing serious complications. Herd immunity should help to prevent other variants from emerging.
Children’s Vaccines in Lutz, Trinity, Westchase, and Palm Harbor
The right time to get a vaccine depends on a child’s age and overall health, so be sure to consult with your child’s pediatrician. Our compassionate and caring pediatricians here at the Children’s Medical Center can help you plan the right vaccination schedule for your child’s needs.
If you would like to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment, call us today at (727) 787-6335. We have convenient locations across the Tampa Bay area in Palm Harbor, Lutz, Westchase, and Trinity. We look forward to helping you keep your children safe and healthy!