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Vaccines contain dead or weakened antigens of various diseases. Even this tiny amount prompts your body to develop antibodies that fight disease. The cells remain in your body to combat infection should you come in contact with the germ again in your lifetime.
What many don’t realize is that the benefits of being vaccinated can last a lifetime. They’re a key component of good health for all ages, protecting you and those around you by limiting — or in some cases stopping — the spread of very serious diseases.
While staying current on immunizations may only seem relevant for school age kids, everyone should be sure they’re up to date. Here are recommended vaccinations by age:
Infants and Toddlers
If you’re a first-time parent, you may be surprised to learn that newborns usually get their first round of vaccinations (the Hepatitis B vaccine for example) before they leave the hospital and often in their first few hours of life. While watching your baby get shots can be tough, remember your baby’s undeveloped immune system needs all the help it can get.
A few vaccinations only require one dose. Others require additional doses be given at specific times throughout your child’s developmental years or on an annual basis. Some illnesses, such as influenza, may require vaccination each year for protection during the flu season. Others vaccines may be timed with your child’s entry into the school system where they’ll expose others — and be exposed — to harmful germs.
Your child’s pediatrician is always a great resource for helping you understand the recommended vaccines and keeping your child on schedule. The basic recommendations for your child may include:
At 2 Months
- DTaP (Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis)
- HepB (Hepatitis B)
- Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine)
- IPV (Inactivated poliovirus vaccine)
- PCV13 (Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine)
- RV (Rotavirus vaccine)
At 4 Months
At 6 Months
At 12-15 Months
- MMR (Measles, mumps, and rubella)
- Chickenpox (varicella)
At 12–23 Months
- HepA (Hepatitis A)
At 15–18 Months
Vaccinations for School-Age Years
Your back-to-school checklist should include vaccinations. Since pediatric offices become swamped in the weeks before school starts, be sure to schedule your school vaccines well enough in advance. During your child’s school years, the recommended vaccinations may include:
At 4–6 Years
At 11–12 Years
- HPV (human papillomavirus)
- Meningococcal conjugate
Vaccinations for Adolescents
- Meningococcal conjugate
- Meningococcal B vaccine (MenB)
Before teens go to college, they should be current with meningococcal conjugate, MenB, Tdap and HPV vaccines. Meningitis can spread quickly in close quarters, like a dorm, so please be sure to put this on your teen’s college “to-do” list.
Vaccinations for Adults
Even after the series of childhood and teen immunizations, adults aren’t off the hook entirely. Vaccinations vary by age and circumstance. For example, if adults have a condition that compromises their immune system, they may need additional vaccinations or doses. They will also be encouraged to continue with annual vaccinations to protect against some specific illnesses, such as the flu. Recommended vaccinations for adults may include:
- Pneumococcal 23 (PPSV23)
- Tdap or Td
Protect Your Whole Health
For the best chance of steering clear of serious contagious diseases and keeping your whole family healthy, talk to your primary care physician (PCP) and your child’s pediatrician to make sure you stay on schedule with all necessary vaccines.
Find your trusted AdventHealth doctors who can help protect your whole health here.