Vaccines have become an incredible tool for keeping our children safe. Since recommending routine vaccinations for children, preventable illnesses have declined a staggering amount.
But, why exactly is it such a big deal to follow the recommended schedule? What does the schedule look like? And exactly what vaccines would your baby be receiving?
There are so many questions worth asking that deserve answers. That’s why today’s video is all about the routine newborn vaccination schedule. We’ll look at the benefits of vaccination, what the routinely recommended vaccines are, and when you can expect your baby to receive them.
Table of contents
Benefits of vaccine
When a baby is born, there are several vaccinations that occur over the first year of life. While they’re not fun doctor’s visits for your baby, following the standard immunization schedule recommended by healthcare professionals offers them a lot of long-term benefits.
In fact, immunization is one of the most effective preventative health measures to this day. The cases of vaccine-preventable illnesses in the United States dropped by more than 90 percent after the introduction of routine vaccinations for children.
Getting your baby vaccinated doesn’t just benefit them, it also benefits the larger community. You likely recognize the term herd immunity, which has been discussed quite a bit these past two years. Essentially, community immunity, or herd immunity, occurs when enough people are immune to an infection that it decreases the risk of transmission. This protects children who are too young to receive certain vaccines or who have a medical reason to not receive one. Herd immunity depends on the majority of the population getting routinely recommended immunizations.
Failure to receive the recommended vaccines on the proper timeline can leave your baby and others’ at risk for preventable illnesses.
What is the recommended vaccination schedule?
It varies from country to country, so I’ll be covering what’s standard for the United States in this video. If you’re located outside of the U.S., you can find immunization schedules for your location through the World Health Organization.
In the U.S., the routine immunization schedules for both children and adolescents are updated annually. This schedule is recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, then approved by [let me take a deep breath] the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Nurse-Midwives, American Academy of Physician Assistants, and National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners. There’s no shortage of eyes and minds on your child’s recommended vaccination timeline.
Typical vaccination schedule
The immunization schedule routinely recommended for infants in the United States includes:
- The Hepatitis B vaccine, which is given in 3 doses. The first is administered within 24 hours of birth, then at age 1 to 2 months, and again at age 6 to 12 months.
- The rotavirus vaccine schedule, which varies with the formulation given, will either be administered in three doses at 2, 4, and 6 months of age or through two doses at 2 and 4 months of age.
- Diphtheria, tetanus, and/or pertussis vaccines are recommended for infants and children at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 through 18 months, and 4 through 6 years, with booster dose requirements beginning at age 11.
- You have the inactivated poliovirus vaccine, which is recommended at age 2 months, 4 months, 6 through 18 months, and 4 through 6 years.
- The influenza vaccine is recommended annually for all children who are over six months old, especially if they’re particularly at risk for complications.
- The measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine is recommended at age 12 through 15 months and again at age 4 through 6 years.
- The varicella vaccine, which prevents chickenpox, is recommended at age 12 through 15 months and again at 4 through 6 years.
Catching up on vaccines
For children who aren’t on track with the recommended vaccination schedule, they can be caught up by using the minimum intervals between doses. They won’t have to start the series of doses over even when a prolonged period of time has passed.
You can see the full breakdown of the recommended schedule on the CDC’s website, including the catch-up schedule; the link to their chart mapping vaccination recommendations by age will be in the description of this video.
The vaccination schedule is the same for preterm babies with the exception of the hepatitis B vaccine, which is delayed until hospital discharge or 30 days of age for infants who weigh over 4 pounds and are born to women who don’t have hepatitis B.
If you’re worried about any of the vaccines or want to learn more before it’s administered to your child, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act requires clinicians to provide information about the vaccines before administration. The CDC also lists precautions and information about vaccines that are routinely used for children and adolescents so you feel fully informed about any risks or how to manage pain or side effects of the vaccine.
It’s also important to know that there’s no limit to the number of vaccines that can be given during a single visit. Most routine vaccines can be administered on the same day without compromising the effectiveness of the doses.
Following your doctor’s vaccination recommendations is an important step in keeping your baby as well-protected as possible. If you have any questions, you can always direct them to your clinician and, if you want to learn more about the routine vaccination recommendations, there are resources you can find through the CDC and WHO.