What are the Major Childhood Immunizations?
Vaccines prevent both the development and spread of preventable diseases, many of which have serious complications. The immunization schedule recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention begins in infancy. What are the major childhood immunizations?
Also called varicella, the chickenpox vaccine prevents itchy blisters from forming all over the body. Once exposed to varicella, the virus remains in the body and can reappear later in life as shingles. The varicella vaccine is a 2-dose series.
Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTaP)
This vaccine targets three serious diseases in a single shot. Diptheria is a nose and throat infection that can lead to swelling in the heart. Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, is a bacterial infection that causes muscle spasms which lead to death. It has no cure. Pertussis, also called whooping cough, is a respiratory infection that causes an uncontrollable cough which can interfere with breathing. DTaP is a 5-dose series, followed by a booster shot in late adolescence or adulthood called Tdap.
Haemophilus influenzae type b (HIB)
This bacterial infection is generally mild unless it enters the bloodstream, in which case it can lead to meningitis. The series is three or four doses depending on which brand of vaccine is used.
Infecting the liver, hepatitis A infections can last for several months. It is a 2-dose series.
Another infection of the liver, hepatitis B spreads through bodily fluids and can lead to liver failure. This is usually the first vaccine given at birth, and is followed with two more doses.
Given as a yearly shot, the flu vaccine is tailored to the dominant strains each year. The first time a child receives an influenza vaccine, it is administered as two doses at least four weeks apart, but future vaccinations will only be one shot.
Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)
Like the DTaP vaccine, MMR prevents three diseases in one. Measles is an incredibly contagious disease that causes a viral rash and high fever, which can be life-threatening for young children. Mumps causes an infection and swelling in the salivary glands. Like measles, rubella also causes a viral rash. The MMR vaccine is a 2-dose series.
Poliovirus is a serious infection of the spinal cord. Poliovirus causes paralysis throughout the body, including the limbs and in the muscles necessary for breathing. Polio can lead to permanent disability or death. The polio vaccine is a 4-dose series.
Pneumococcal bacteria can cause a range of infections, from ear and sinus to sepsis, meningitis, and pneumonia. The PCV13 vaccine prevents these infections from becoming serious, and is given as a 4-dose series.
Rotavirus causes severe vomiting and diarrhea, leading to dehydration and potential hospitalization. The RV vaccine is administered through an oral liquid as either a two or three dose series.
Have questions about the major childhood immunizations? At Westgate Family Physicians, our team is happy to advise you on the benefits of these vaccines, as well as their schedules. To schedule an appointment, call (864) 574-0070.