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Quick Facts

Childhood Vaccination Schedule

By The Manual's Editorial Staff,

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What is the recommended childhood vaccine schedule?

  • It's a schedule created by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also known as the CDC

  • It shows which vaccines children need, the ages they can get them, and the number of shots they'll get

  • It’s designed to give children vaccines when they first have a chance of getting certain infections

Can children get vaccines if they’re sick?

Children can still get vaccines if they have a slight fever from a mild infection, like an ordinary cold. Your child’s doctor will help make that decision.

Can I delay or skip giving my child certain vaccines?

Your child is more likely to get certain infections if you don't follow the recommended schedule. However, a slight delay usually won’t harm your child or make your child have to start over with the shots. If you have concerns about the recommended schedule, talk to your child’s doctor.

Vaccinating Infants and Children

Following the recommended vaccination schedule is important because it helps protect infants and children against infections that can be prevented. The schedule below is based on the one recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC). The schedule indicates which vaccines are needed, at what age, and how many doses (indicated by the numbers in the symbols).

There is a range of acceptable ages for many vaccines. Your child's doctor can provide specific recommendations, which may vary depending on your child's known health conditions and other circumstances. Often, combination vaccines are used, so that children receive fewer injections. If children have not been vaccinated according to the schedule, catch-up vaccinations are recommended, and you should contact a doctor or health department clinic to find out how to catch up. You should report any side effects after vaccinations to your child's doctor.

For more information about this schedule, talk to a doctor or visit the CDC's National Immunization Program web site.

aHepatitis B vaccine: This vaccine is given to all newborns before they are discharged from the hospital. The second dose is given at age 1 to 2 months, followed by the third dose at age 6 to 18 months.

bRotavirus vaccine: Depending on the vaccine used, two or three doses of the vaccine are given: at ages 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months or at ages 2 months and 4 months.

cHaemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine: Depending on the vaccine used, two or three doses of the Hib vaccine are given: at ages 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months or at ages 2 months and 4 months. These doses are followed by a booster dose given at age 12 to 15 months.

dPoliovirus vaccine: Four doses of the vaccine are given: at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6 to 18 months, and 4 to 6 years.

eDiphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine: Before age 11, children are given the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) preparation. Five doses of DTaP are given: at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months, and 4 to 6 years. An adolescent preparation of tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) is recommended at age 11 to 12 years.

fPneumococcal vaccine: Four doses of the vaccine are given: at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 12 to 15 months.

gMeningococcal vaccine: One dose is given at age 11 to 12 years, with a booster dose at age 16 years.

hInfluenza vaccine: The influenza vaccine should be given yearly to all, beginning at age 6 months. Children who are 6 months to 8 years old should be given two doses at least 4 weeks apart if they are receiving the influenza vaccine for the first time.

iMeasles-mumps-rubella vaccine: Two doses are given: at ages 12 to 15 months and 4 to 6 years.

jVaricella vaccine: Two doses are given: at ages 12 to 15 months and 4 to 6 years.

kHepatitis A vaccine: Two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine are needed for lasting protection. The first dose is given between ages 12 to 23 months, and the second dose is given 6 to 18 months later. If children over age 23 months have not been vaccinated, they can be given the hepatitis A vaccine to protect them from hepatitis A.

lHuman papillomavirus vaccine: The human papillomavirus vaccine is given to adolescents (girls and boys) in 3 doses. The second dose is given 1 to 2 months after the first, and the third dose is given 4 months later.

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