Getting Immunizations For Your Baby

To help keep your baby healthy, your health-care provider will recommend that your baby receive a series of vaccinations against certain vaccine-preventable diseases. In the United States, children routinely get vaccinated against 15 serious diseases. Below you will find information about these diseases, as well as a chart with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) recommended immunization schedule for 2010.1,2

a If Rotatrix® is administered at ages 2 and 4 months, a dose at 6 months is not indicated.2

b If PRP-OMP (PedvaxHIB® or Comvax® [HepB-Hib]) is administered at ages 2 and 4 months, a dose at 6 months is not indicated.2

c May be administered in 2 doses (separated by at least 4 weeks) to children younger than 9 years of age who are receiving influenza vaccine for the first time or were vaccinated with 1 dose for the first time last season.2

Vaccine-preventable diseases


  • A disease caused by a bacterium called Corynebacterium diphtheriae
  • Found in the mouth, throat, and nose
  • Can be spread by coughing or sneezing
  • Symptoms include sore throat, fever, and chills
  • Can lead to heart failure and paralysis
  • Vaccines available:
    • - Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine for infants and children through 6 years of age
    • - Tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine for adolescents and adults

Hepatitis A:1

  • A liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus
  • Found mainly in bowel movements
  • Can be spread through personal contact, eating contaminated food, or drinking contaminated water
  • Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, tiredness, stomach pain, vomiting, dark urine, and yellow skin or eyes
  • Children under 6 years of age often do not show any signs of illness
  • Vaccine available: Hepatitis A vaccine

Hepatitis B:1

  • A liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus
  • Can be spread through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person
  • Pregnant women who have chronic Hepatitis B can infect their newborn babies
  • Symptoms include loss of appetite, tiredness, muscle or stomach pains, diarrhea, vomiting, and yellow skin or eyes (jaundice)
  • Some people don't get any symptoms at all
  • Some people develop chronic infection that may lead to scarring of the liver or liver cancer
  • Vaccine available: Hepatitis B vaccine

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease:1

  • A disease caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria
  • Can be spread through the air by coughing, sneezing, and even breathing
  • The bacteria can spread to the lungs or bloodstream, causing meningitis (infection of the covering of the brain), pneumonia, epiglottitis (inflammation in the throat), arthritis, or other problems
  • Vaccine available: Hib vaccine

Human papillomavirus (HPV):1,4

  • A sexually transmitted disease caused by the human papillomavirus
  • Spreads through sexual contact
  • Most HPV infections go away on their own without symptoms
  • May cause cervical cancer in women
  • Associated with several less common types of cancer in men and women
  • May cause genital warts and warts in the upper respiratory tract
  • Vaccine available: HPV vaccine

Influenza (flu):1

  • A seasonal illness caused by the influenza virus
  • Spread from person to person through sneezing, coughing, or breathing
  • Symptoms include fever, sore throat, cough, headache, chills, and muscle aches
  • Young children may also have vomiting and diarrhea
  • May cause ear and sinus infections, pneumonia, myocarditis (inflammation of the heart), and death
  • The virus is always changing, so the immunity you had one year may not protect you in the future
  • Vaccine available: Influenza vaccine


  • A viral illness that causes a rash all over the body
  • Can be spread by breathing, coughing, or sneezing
  • Other symptoms include fever, runny nose, and cough
  • May cause ear infections, pneumonia, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), or death
  • May cause miscarriages or premature birth in pregnant women
  • Very contagious - any child who is exposed to it and has not been vaccinated will probably get the disease
  • Vaccine available: Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine

Meningococcal disease:1,5

  • A leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children 2 to 18 years of age
  • Meningitis is an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord
  • May also cause blood infections
  • Most common in infants and people with certain medical conditions
  • College freshmen who live in dormitories and teenagers 15 to 19 years of age are also at increased risk
  • Vaccines available:
    • - Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV)
    • - Meningococcal vaccine (MV)


  • A disease that is best known for the swelling of the cheeks and jaw that results from inflammation of the salivary glands
  • Causes a fever and headache
  • Often a mild disease
  • Severe cases may lead to meningitis, encephalitis, deafness, or death
  • Vaccine available: MMR vaccine

Pertussis (whooping cough):1

  • Caused by a bacterium called Bordetella pertussis
  • Commonly called whooping cough because the cough is violent and rapid, forcing the air to leave the person's lungs. Inhalation sounds like a loud "whoop."
  • Very contagious, it is one of the most common vaccine-preventable childhood diseases in the United States
  • Can be spread from person to person through personal contact, coughing, and sneezing
  • Resembles a common cold at first, with sneezing, runny nose, fever, and a mild cough
  • After 1 or 2 weeks, severe coughing spells begin
  • May lead to pneumonia, convulsions, brain damage, and death
  • Vaccines available:
    • - DTaP vaccine
    • - Tdap vaccine

Pneumococcal disease:1

  • Caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria
  • Children can develop a severe disease that can lead to meningitis and blood infections
  • Can be spread through the air by anyone who is infected, even if they don't have symptoms
  • Most common during the winter and early spring
  • Vaccines available:
    • - Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)
    • - Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV)


  • Thousands died and were paralyzed during a major epidemic in 1916
  • A vaccine was introduced in the 1950s and the disease began to disappear in the United States
  • Caused by a virus that lives in the throat and intestinal tract
  • Spread mainly through contact with the feces of an infected person
  • Some children do not feel ill at all, and others have common cold-like symptoms, sometimes accompanied by pain and stiffness
  • Serious forms of the disease cause severe muscle pain and paralysis within a week (loss of muscle use)
  • There is no treatment for polio
  • Vaccine available: Inactivated poliovirus (IPV) vaccine


  • Most common cause of severe gastroenteritis (diarrhea and vomiting) among young children
  • May cause a fever of 102 degrees F or higher, severe dehydration, or death
  • The virus is shed in the stool
  • Can be spread by direct contact with an infected person, or by contact with contaminated objects such as toys or food
  • Often spread within families, hospitals, and child-care facilities
  • Vaccine available: Rotavirus vaccine (oral)


  • Sometimes called "German measles" or "3-day measles"
  • Generally a mild disease caused by the rubella virus
  • Usually occurs in the winter and spring
  • Causes a slight fever, along with a rash on the face and neck, swollen glands in the back of the neck, and arthritis-like symptoms in the joints in teens and adults
  • Spread from person to person through the air by coughing, sneezing, or breathing
  • If a pregnant woman is infected during the early months of pregnancy, the disease can cause deafness, blindness, damage to the heart or brain, or mental retardation in her baby
  • Miscarriages are common among pregnant women who get rubella
  • Vaccine available: MMR vaccine

Tetanus (lockjaw):1

  • Caused by Clostridium tetani bacteria usually found in soil, dust, and manure
  • Enters the body through breaks in the skin
  • Children usually become infected through deep cuts, severe burns, ear infections, tooth infections, or animal bites
  • Can take up to 3 weeks for the first symptoms to appear
  • Symptoms include headache, crankiness, and spasms of the jaw muscles
  • May cause painful muscle spasms in the neck, arms, legs, and stomach
  • The spasms may be strong enough to break a child's bones
  • Vaccine available:
    • - DTaP vaccine
    • - Tdap vaccine
    • - Td vaccine

Varicella (chickenpox):1

  • Until recently, one of the most common childhood diseases
  • Causes an itchy rash, fever, and drowsiness
  • Can cause encephalitis if blisters become infected
  • Can be spread by coughing, sneezing, breathing, or contact with fluid from the blisters
  • Symptoms usually occur 2 to 3 weeks after exposure
  • The infected child is contagious for 1 to 2 days before the rash appears and 4 to 5 days after blisters disappear
  • Is usually mild, but can become serious in infants and adults
  • The virus that causes the disease stays in the body and may cause shingles later in life
  • Vaccine available: Varicella vaccine

References 1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Parent's Guide to Childhood Immunizations. Atlanta, GA: CDC; 2007:1-68. 2. CDC. Recommended immunization schedules for persons aged 0 through 18 years - United States, 2010. MMWR. 2010;58(51&52):1-4. 3. CDC. Recommended adult immunization schedule - United States, 2010. MMWR. 2010;59(1):1-4. 4. CDC. HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine: what you need to know. Vaccine information statement, 3/30/2010. Accessed May 12, 2010. 5. CDC. Meningococcal vaccines: what you need to know. Vaccine information statement, 1/28/2008. Accessed May 12, 2010.

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