The Recommended Shots for your Baby’s First Two Years

The Recommended Shots for your Baby’s First Two Years

Image courtesy of the CDC

Watching your baby get a shot is not fun, but vaccines are intended to protect your little bundle of joy from a host of infections that could creep their way into her precious body.  Keeping track of all of the recommended shots for your baby’s first two years may seem overwhelming.  The CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians put together a vaccination schedule to inform parents of the typical times when your baby should receive various vaccines, many of which are given multiple times in small doses over the first two years of your baby’s life.  If your baby is sick or has other complications, your pediatrician may recommend altering the schedule slightly.

Along with this handy chart, we’re breaking down each vaccine to help you keep it all straight:

Hepatitis B (HepB):  This vaccine is given shortly after birth in the hospital, again between one and two months and finally when your baby is six to 18 months old.  HepB prevents contracting Hepatitis B, a disease that is spread through blood and bodily fluids that attacks the liver.

Rotavirus (RV):  Given at two, four and six months of age, the RV vaccine protects your baby against the rotavirus that is spread by mouth and causes gastrointestinal problems and dehydration.

Diptheria / Tetanus / Pertussis (DTaP):  This three-in-one vaccine is given to your child five times early in life:  two months, four months, six months, between 15-18 months and again between 4-6 years old.  Diptheria is an air borne or direct contact disease that causes flu-like symptoms and can lead to heart failure and death.  Tetanus is contracted through open wounds on the skin that induces muscle tightness and spasms that can result in frailty, respiratory problems and death.  Pertussis, better known a whooping cough, causes respiratory distress, especially in babies, and pneumonia.

Haemophilus Influenza (Hib):  This airborne and direct contact illness often causes meningitis, which affects brain, respiratory and lung function.  Hib is given at two, four and six months, and then again between 12-15 months.

Pneumococcal (PCV):  PCV is a vaccine  that protects against pneumococcus, a potentially life-threatening disease that may result in meningitis, pneumonia or a blood infection.  PCV is given to babies at two, four and six months and between 12-15 months.

Polio (IPV):  Polio can be contracted from direct contact, orally or through the air.  It leads to paralysis and death, which is why IPV is recommended at two and four months, and again between six and 18 months.

Measles / Mumps / Rubella (MMR):  Another three-for-one vaccine, all three diseases covered by MMR are contracted through air or direct contact.  They cause severe flu-like symptoms including rash, fever, swollen glands, fatigue, a cough and congestion.  Measles, Mumps and Rubella are responsible for cases of meningitis, pneumonia and encephalitis, among other conditions.

Chickenpox (Varicella):  The Varicella vaccine helps reduce severe symptoms of chickenpox.  Children who get the vaccine between 12 and 15 months may still a mild case of chickenpox, but with the shot, children are less likely to have complications including pneumonia and encephalitis.

Hepatitis A (HepA):  Hepatitis A is contracted through direct contact or contaminated food and water.  It affects the liver, kidney and pancreas and can cause blood disorders.  HepA is recommended any time between age one and two.

Influenza:  The flu shot can be given to babies as young as six months of age and should be taken yearly throughout life.

Usually shots do not cause any serious side effects and your baby is back to her normal, bubbly self within hours of receiving her shots.  If your baby has a severe reaction after any shot, call your pediatrician immediately.