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August is National Immunization Awareness Month

Why Childhood Immunizations Are Important

Childhood vaccines or immunizations can seem overwhelming when you are a new parent. Vaccinations not only protect your child from deadly diseases, they also keep other children safe by eliminating or greatly decreasing dangerous diseases.

A vaccine is a dead or weakened version or part of the germ that causes the disease in question. When children are exposed to a disease in vaccine form, their immune system, which is the body's germ-fighting machine, is able to build up antibodies that protect them from contracting the disease if and when they are exposed to the actual disease.

Most of your child’s vaccinations are completed between birth and 6 years. Many vaccines are given more than once, at different ages and in combinations. This means that you’ll need to keep a careful record of your child's shots. Here is a common immunization schedule recommended by age 2:

  • 1 vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR);
  • 4 vaccinations for haemophilus influenza (Hib), a common upper respiratory infection that can also cause meningitis;
  • 3 to 4 polio vaccinations (IPV);
  • 4 vaccinations for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DPT);
  • 3 vaccinations for hepatitis B;
  • 1 vaccination for varicella (chickenpox) no earlier than age 12 months and only if your child does not develop chickenpox on his or her own (must be verified by a health care provider);
  • 3 vaccinations for rotavirus, a type of infection that causes severe diarrhea; and
  • 4 vaccinations for pneumococcal disease, a common cause of ear infections and pneumonia.

From age 4 to 6, your child will need booster shots for DPT, IPV, MMR, and chickenpox. Children should also start receiving a yearly flu shot after age 6 months. A vaccination for hepatitis A is recommended for all children.

To access the full article provided by Stanford Children's Health, click here.

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