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Childhood Vaccination Schedule

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Sep 2019| Content last modified Sep 2019
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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.

Routine Vaccinations for 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 (see Immunization Schedules for Infants and Children). 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. A child's doctor can provide specific recommendations, which may vary depending on the 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 parents should contact a doctor or health department clinic to find out how to catch up. Parents should report any side effects after vaccinations to their child's doctor.

For more information about this schedule, parents should talk to a doctor or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Immunization Program web site.

Routine Vaccinations for Infants and Children

aHepatitis B vaccine: This vaccine is given to most 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, three or four doses of the Hib vaccine are given: at ages 2 months, 4 months, and 12 to 15 months or at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 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 acellular pertussis vaccine: Before age 7, children are given the diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular 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.

One dose of 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: Two doses are given: at age 11 to 12 years and 16 years (not shown on the above schedule).

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

iMeasles-mumps-rubella (MMR) 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 help protect them from hepatitis A.

lHuman papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine: The human papillomavirus vaccine is given to adolescents (girls and boys) in 2 or 3 doses. The number of doses depends on how old the adolescent is when the first dose is given. Those given the first dose at age 9 to 14 years are given 2 doses, separated by at least 5 months. Those given the first dose at age 15 years or older are given 3 doses. The second dose is given at least 1 month after the first, and the third dose is given at least 5 months after the first dose. Routine vaccination is recommended at age 11 to 12 years.

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