Immunizations Explained

ABCD Pediatrics follows the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics for all immunizations. Please see below for a detailed explanation of each vaccine and what it protects your children from:

Diphtheria, Tetanus & Pertussis (DTaP): Given at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 months and 4 years of age. Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis are serious diseases caused by bacteria. Diphtheria and pertussis are spread from person to person. Tetanus enters the body through cuts or wounds. Diphtheria causes a thick covering in the back of the throat, and can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure and even death. Tetanus (lockjaw) causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body. It can lead to “locking” of the jaw so the victim cannot open his mouth or swallow. Tetanus leads to death in about 1 out of 10 cases. Pertussis (Whooping Cough) causes coughing spells so bad that it is hard for infants to eat, drink, or breathe. These spells can last for weeks. It can lead to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and death. Tdap is the tetanus booster with pertussis additive, and is given at age 10 or 11, along with the meningitis vaccine.

Polio (IPV): Given at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and 4 years of age. Polio is a disease caused by a virus. It enters a child’s (or adult’s) body through the mouth. Sometimes it does not cause serious illness, but sometimes it causes paralysis. It can kill people who get it by paralyzing the muscles that help them breath.

Hepatitis B (HepB): Given at birth, 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months of age. The Hepatitis B virus (HBV) can cause short-term (acute) illness that leads to loss of appetite, diarrhea and vomiting, tiredness, jaundice (yellow skin or eyes), or pain in muscles, joints, and stomach. It can also cause long-term (chronic) illness that leads to liver damage (cirrhosis), liver cancer and death.

Haemophilus Influenzae Type b (Hib): Given at 2 months, 4 months, and 15 months. Haemophilus Influenza is a serious disease caused by a bacteria. It usually strikes children under 5 years of age. Your child can get Hib disease by being around other children or adults who may have the bacteria and not know it. The germs spread from person to person. If the germs stay in the child’s nose and throat, the child probably will not get sick. But sometimes the germs spread into the lungs or the bloodstream, and then Hib can cause serious problems, including pneumonia, severe swelling in the throat, infections of the blood, joints, bones and covering of the heart, and even death.

Pneumococcal conjugate (Prevnar): Given at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and 15 months. Infection with Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria can cause serious illness and death. Invasive pneumococcal disease is responsible for about 200 deaths each year among children under 5 years of age, and is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in the U.S. (Meningitis is an infection of the covering of the brain). It causes severe diseases, including meningitis, blood infections and ear infections (ear infections have many causes, and pneumococcal vaccine is effective against only some of them). It can also lead to other health problems, including pneumonia, deafness and brain damage. The bacteria are spread from person to person through close contact; at highest risk are children under the age of two, and the infection can be hard to treat because the bacteria have become resistant to some of the drugs used to threat them.

Rotavirus (Rotateq): Given at 2 months, 4 months and 6 months. Rotavirus is a virus that causes severe diarrhea, mostly in babies and young children. It is often accompanied by vomiting and fever. It is not the only cause of severe diarrhea, but it is one of the most serious. You child can get rotavirus infection by being around other children who are already infected. Almost all children in the U.S. are infected with rotavirus before their fifth birthday, and children are most likely to get rotavirus disease between November and May.

Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR): Given at 1 year of age and 4 years of age. Measles virus causes rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation and fever. It can lead to ear infection, pneumonia, seizures, brain damage and death. Mumps virus causes fever, headache and swollen glands. It can lead to deafness, meningitis (infection of the brain and spinal cord covering), painful swelling of the testicles or ovaries, and rarely, death. Rubella (German Measles) virus causes rash, mild fever, and arthritis (mostly in women). If a women gets rubella while pregnant, she could have a miscarriage or her baby could be born with serious birth defects. You or your child can catch these diseases by being around someone who has them. The spread from person to person through the air.

Varicella (Chickenpox): Given at 1 year of age and again at age 4. If not given at age 4, will be given a booster at age 11. Chickenpox is a common childhood disease. Although usually mild, it can be serious, especially in young infants and adults. The virus can be spread from person to person through the air, or by contact with fluid from chickenpox blisters. It causes a rash, itching, fever and tiredness. It can lead to severe skin infection, scars, pneumonia, brain damage, or death. A person who has had chickenpox can get a painful rash called shingles years later. ProQuad is a combination MMR and Varicella vaccine that is given at 1 year of age.

Hepatitis A (HepA): Given at 1 year and again six months after the first dose. Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease caused by the Hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is found in the stool of persons with hepatitis A. It is usually spread by close personal contact and sometimes by eating food or drinking water containing HAV. Hepatitis A can cause mild “flu-like” illness, jaundice or severe stomach pains and diarrhea. A person who has hepatitis A can easily pass the disease along to others within the same household.

Meningicoccal (Menactra): Given between the ages of 11 years old and 12 years old. A Booster shot is given 5 years after the initial dose and is required by most colleges. Meningooccal disease is a serious illness, caused by bacteria. It is an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, and can also cause blood infections. Infections can be treated with drugs such as penicillin, but still, about 1 out of every 10 people dies from it, and many others are affected for life (loss of arms or legs, deafness, nervous system problems, mental retardation, seizures or strokes).

Schedule of Immunizations

Immunizations will be given at various appointments and your child will receive the majority of immunizations by the age of 2 years. These immunizations protect your child against a number of major diseases. We strongly support and follow the Immunization Recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics which can be viewed here.