Your Child's Immunizations

Babies are born with protection against certain diseases because antibodies from the mother were passed to them through the placenta. After birth, breastfed babies get the continued benefits of additional antibodies in breast milk. But in both cases, the protection is temporary.

Immunization (vaccination) is a way of creating immunity to certain diseases by using small amounts of a killed or weakened microorganism that causes the particular disease.

Microorganisms can be viruses, such as the measles virus, or they can be bacteria, such as pneumococcus. Vaccines stimulate the immune system to react as if there were a real infection — it fends off the "infection" and remembers the organism so that it can fight it quickly should it enter the body later.

Some parents may hesitate to have their kids vaccinated because they're worried that the children will have serious reactions or may get the illness the vaccine is supposed to prevent. Because the components of vaccines are weakened or killed — and in some cases, only parts of the microorganism are used — they're unlikely to cause any serious illness. Some vaccines may cause mild reactions, such as soreness where the shot was given or fever, but serious reactions are rare.

The risks of vaccinations are small compared with the health risks associated with the diseases they're intended to prevent.

The following vaccinations and schedules are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Please note that some variations are acceptable and that changes in recommendations often occur as new vaccines are developed.

The AAP recommends that kids get combination vaccines (rather than single vaccines) whenever possible. Many vaccines are offered in combination to help reduce the number of shots a child receives.

Your doctor will determine the best vaccinations and schedule for your child.

Recommended vaccinations:

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) affects the liver. Those who are infected can become lifelong carriers of the virus and may develop long-term problems such as cirrhosis (liver disease) or cancer of the liver.

Immunization Schedule

Hepatitis B vaccine usually is given as a series of three injections. If the mother of a newborn carries the hepatitis B virus in her blood, the infant needs to receive the vaccine within 12 hours after birth, along with another shot, hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG), to immediately provide protection against the virus. If a newborn's mother shows no evidence of HBV in her blood, the infant may receive the hepatitis B vaccine any time prior to leaving the hospital.

The first dose is given shortly after birth, the second shot is given at 1 to 2 months and the third at 6 to 18 months.

Why the Vaccine Is Recommended

The hepatitis B vaccine usually creates long-term immunity. Infants who receive the HBV series should be protected from hepatitis B infection not only throughout their childhood but also into the adult years. Eliminating the risk of infection also decreases risk for cirrhosis of the liver, chronic liver disease, and liver cancer. Young adults and adolescents should also receive the vaccine if they did not as infants.

Possible Risks

There is a very small chance of an allergic reaction with any vaccine. Serious problems associated with receiving the HBV vaccine are rare. Problems that do occur tend to be minor, such as fever or redness or tenderness at the injection site.

When to Delay or Avoid Immunization

  • if your child is currently sick, although simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization
  • if a severe allergic reaction (called anaphylaxis) occurred after a previous injection of the HBV vaccine or to baker's yeast

Caring for Your Child After Immunization

The vaccine may cause mild fever, and soreness and redness in the area where the shot was given. Depending on the age of your child, pain and fever may be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Very young infants should not be given either medication, but for older babies or children, check with the doctor about the appropriate medication and dose.

When to Call the Doctor

  • if you're not sure of the recommended schedule for the hepatitis B vaccine
  • if you have concerns about your own HBV carrier state
  • if moderate or serious adverse effects appear after your child has received an HBV injection

Pneumococcal Vaccine (PCV)

The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) protects against pneumococcal infections. The pneumococcus bacterium is a leading cause of serious infections, including pneumonia, blood infections, and bacterial meningitis.

The bacterium is spread through person-to-person contact. So not only does the vaccine prevent the infection in children who receive it, but it also helps stop the spread of the infection.

Immunization Schedule

PCV immunizations are given as a series of four injections starting at 2 months of age and following at 4 months, 6 months, and 12 to 15 months. Kids who miss the first dose or may have missed subsequent doses due to vaccine shortage should still receive the vaccine, and your doctor can give you a modified schedule for immunization.

Why the Vaccine Is Recommended

Children under 2 years old, adults over 65 years old, and people with certain medical conditions are most susceptible to serious pneumococcal infections.

PCV is recommended for all kids younger than 5 years old. Healthy kids between 24 and 59 months of age who were not completely vaccinated should receive one dose of PCV.

Children with certain underlying medical conditions may also receive the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV) in addition to the PCV when they're older than 24 months. Medical problems that increase a child's risk of pneumococcal infection include:

  • sickle cell anemia
  • a damaged spleen or no spleen
  • HIV/AIDS
  • cochlear implants
  • a condition that affects the immune system, such as diabetes or cancer
  • receiving medications that affect the immune system, such as steroids or chemotherapy
  • chronic heart or lung disease

Possible Risks

Children who receive the PCV vaccine may have redness, tenderness, or swelling where the shot was given. A child may also have a fever after receiving the shot. There is a very small chance of an allergic reaction with any vaccine.

When to Delay or Avoid Immunization

  • if your child is currently sick, although simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization
  • if your child has had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine

Caring for Your Child After Immunization

The vaccine may cause mild fever, and soreness and redness in the area where the shot was given. Depending on the age of your child, pain and fever may be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either medication, and to find out the appropriate dose.

When to Call the Doctor

  • if your child missed a dose in the series
  • if a severe allergic reaction or high fever occurs after immunization

DTaP

The DTaP vaccine protects against:

  • diphtheria a serious infection of the throat that can block the airway and cause severe breathing difficulty
  • tetanus (lockjaw) — a nerve disease, which can occur at any age, caused by toxin-producing bacteria contaminating a wound
  • pertussis (whooping cough) — a respiratory illness with cold symptoms that progress to severe coughing (the "whooping" sound occurs when the child breathes in deeply after a severe coughing bout); serious complications of pertussis can occur in children under 1 year of age, and those under 6 months old are especially susceptible. Teens and adults with a persistent cough may not realize they have pertussis, and may pass it to vulnerable infants.

Immunization Schedule

DTaP immunizations are given as a series of five injections and are usually administered at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months, and 4 to 6 years. After the initial series of immunizations, a vaccine called Tdap (the booster shot) should be given at ages 11 to 12, or to older teens and adults who haven't yet received a booster with pertussis coverage. Then, Td (tetanus and diphtheria) boosters are recommended every 10 years.

Why the Vaccine Is Recommended

Use of the DTaP vaccine has virtually eliminated diphtheria and tetanus in childhood and has markedly reduced the number of pertussis cases.

Possible Risks

The vaccine frequently causes mild side effects: fever, mild crankiness, tiredness, loss of appetite, and tenderness, redness, or swelling in the area where the shot was given. Rarely, seizures or allergic reactions can occur following DTaP. Most of these side effects result from the pertussis component of the vaccine. Severe complications caused by DTaP immunization are rare. Most kids have little or no problem.

When to Delay or Avoid Immunization

  • if your child is currently sick, although simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization
  • if your child has an uncontrolled seizure disorder or certain neurologic diseases or seems not to be developing normally — the pertussis component of the vaccine may not be given, and your child may receive a DT (diphtheria and tetanus) vaccine instead

If your child experienced any of the following after an earlier DTaP, consult with your doctor before your child receives another injection of the vaccine:

  • seizures within 7 days after injection
  • worsening of seizures
  • an allergic reaction after receiving the vaccine, such as mouth, throat, or facial swelling
  • difficulty breathing
  • temperature of 105º Fahrenheit (40.5º Celsius) or higher during the first 2 days after injection
  • shock or collapse during the first 2 days after injection
  • persistent, uncontrolled crying that lasts for more than 3 hours during the first 2 days after injection

Caring for Your Child After Immunization

Your child may experience fever, soreness, and some swelling and redness in the area where the shot was given. Depending on the age of your child, pain and fever may be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either medication, and to find out the appropriate dose.

A warm, damp cloth or a heating pad also may help reduce soreness. Moving or using the limb that has received the injection often reduces the soreness.

When to Call the Doctor

  • if you aren't sure whether the vaccine should be postponed or avoided. Children who have had certain problems with the DTaP vaccine usually can safely receive the DT vaccine.
  • if complications or severe symptoms develop after immunization, including seizures, fever above 105º Fahrenheit (40.5º Celsius), difficulty breathing or other signs of allergy, shock or collapse, or uncontrolled crying for more than 3 hours

Hib

Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria were the leading cause of meningitis in children under 5 years until the Hib vaccine became available.

Immunization Schedule

The Hib vaccine is given by injection at ages 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months (however, some of the Hib vaccines do not require a dose at 6 months). A booster dose is given at 12 to 15 months.

Why the Vaccine Is Recommended

The vaccine provides long-term protection from Haemophilus influenzae type b. Those immunized have protection against Hib meningitis, pneumonia, pericarditis (an infection of the membrane covering the heart), and infections of the blood, bones, and joints caused by the bacteria.

Possible Risks

Minor problems, such as redness, swelling, or tenderness where the shot was given, may occur. There is a very small chance of an allergic reaction with any vaccine.

When to Delay or Avoid Immunization

  • if your child is currently sick, although simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization
  • if severe allergic reaction occurs after an injection of the Hib vaccine, further Hib immunizations may not be given to your child

Caring for Your Child After Immunization

The vaccine may cause mild soreness and redness in the area where the shot was given. Depending on the age of your child, pain and fever may be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either medication, and to find out the appropriate dose.

When to Call the Doctor

  • if you aren't sure whether the vaccine should be postponed or avoided
  • if moderate or serious adverse reactions appear after the Hib injection

Polio (IPV)

Polio is a viral infection that can result in permanent paralysis.

Immunization Schedule

The inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) is usually given at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6 to 18 months, and 4 to 6 years.

Though the oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) is still used in many parts of the world, it has not been used in the United States since 2000. Using IPV eliminates the small risk of developing polio after receiving the live oral polio vaccine.

Why the Vaccine Is Recommended

The vaccine offers protection against polio, which can cause paralysis and death.

Possible Risks

Side effects include fever and redness or soreness at the site of injection. There is a very small chance of an allergic reaction with any vaccine.

When to Delay or Avoid Immunization

  • IPV should not be given to kids with severe allergy to neomycin, streptomycin, or polymyxin B.
  • IPV should not be given to kids who had a severe allergic reaction to a previous IPV shot.

Caring for Your Child After Immunization

IPV may cause mild fever, and soreness and redness at the site of the injection for several days. Depending on the age of your child, pain and fever may be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either medication, and to find out the appropriate dose.

When to Call the Doctor

  • if you aren't sure whether the vaccine should be postponed or avoided
  • if moderate or severe adverse reactions occur after the immunization

Influenza

Influenza, or "the flu," is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract.

Immunization Schedule

The flu vaccine protects against the H1N1 flu that surfaced in 2009, as well as other flu strains.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the flu vaccine for all people age 6 months and older. Certain people are at higher risk of complications from the flu. They include:

  • pregnant women
  • children younger than age 5, especially those younger than 2
  • people age 65 and older
  • people of any age who have chronic health conditions

Infants younger than 6 months are too young to receive the vaccine, but all other high-risk people should be vaccinated. Health care workers, caregivers, and close contacts of at-risk persons (including those who care for infants younger than 6 months) also should get the flu vaccine.

For kids younger than 9 who are getting the flu vaccine for the first time, it's given in two separate shots a month apart. It can take about 2 weeks after the shot is given for the body to build up protection against the flu.

A non-shot option, the nasal mist vaccine, became available in 2003 and is now approved for use in healthy 2- to 49-year-olds. The nasal mist contains live but weakened virus that will not cause the flu. However, the vaccine it isn't recommended for kids with certain medical conditions or pregnant women.

In the past, there have been vaccine shortages and delays. So talk with your doctor about availability, and about which vaccine is right for your kids.

Why the Vaccine Is Recommended

During flu season, the flu vaccine reduces a child's chances of catching the flu by up to 80%.

Even if you or your kids got the seasonal flu vaccine last year, that won't protect you from getting the flu this year, because flu viruses constantly change. That's why the vaccine is updated each year to include the most current strains of the virus.

Possible Risks

Usually given as an injection in the upper arm, the flu shot contains killed flu viruses that will not cause someone to get the flu, but will cause the body to make antibodies to fight off a live flu virus if it does enter the body. 

Some of the most common side effects from the flu shot are soreness, redness, or swelling at the site of the injection. A low-grade fever and aches are also possible. Because the nasal spray flu vaccine is made from live viruses, it may cause mild flu-like symptoms, including runny nose, headache, vomiting, muscle aches, and fever. Very rarely, the flu vaccine can cause a severe allergic reaction.

When to Delay or Avoid Immunization

People who should not get the seasonal flu shot include:

  • infants under 6 months old
  • anyone who's severely allergic to eggs and egg products. (People with a mild egg allergy can receive the vaccine, but it should be given in a doctor's office so that they can be monitored for side effects for 30 minutes after the shot is given.)
  • anyone who's ever had a severe reaction to a flu vaccination
  • anyone who's had Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a rare medical condition that affects the nerves)
  • anyone with a moderate-to-severe illness

Caring for Your Child After Immunization

Pain and fever may be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either medication, and to find out the appropriate dose. Some doctors recommend a dose just before the immunization. A warm, damp cloth or a heating pad also may help minimize soreness. Moving or using the limb that has received the injection often reduces the soreness as well.

When to Call the Doctor

  • if you aren't sure if the vaccine should be postponed or avoided
  • if there are serious problems after the immunization, such as an allergic reaction, high fever, or other concern

MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles). MMR vaccinations are given by injection in two doses. The first is administered at age 12 to 15 months; the second generally is given at age 4 to 6 years.

Why the Vaccine Is Recommended

Measles, mumps, and rubella are infections that can lead to significant illness. More than 95% of children receiving MMR will be protected from the three diseases throughout their lives.

Possible Risks

Serious problems such as allergic reactions are rare. Potential mild to moderate adverse effects include rash, fever, swollen cheeks, febrile seizures, and mild joint pain.

When to Delay or Avoid Immunization

  • if your child is currently sick, although simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization
  • if your child has an allergy to gelatin or to the antibiotic neomycin, check with your doctor about immunization
  • if your child had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of MMR vaccine
  • if your child has recently received gamma globulin or a blood transfusion, check with your doctor about immunization
  • if your child has a medical problem that affects the immune system, such as cancer
  • if your child is taking prednisone, steroids, or other immunosuppressive drugs
  • if your child is undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • if your child has ever had a low platelet count, check with your doctor about immunization
  • pregnant women should wait until after delivery for the vaccine

Caring for Your Child After Immunization

If a rash develops without other symptoms, no treatment is necessary and it should resolve within several days. Pain and fever may be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either medication, and find out the appropriate dose.

When to Call the Doctor

  • if you aren't sure if the vaccine should be postponed or avoided
  • if there are problems after the immunization

Varicella (chickenpox)

The varicella vaccine protects against chickenpox (varicella), a common and very contagious childhood viral illness.

Immunization Schedule

The varicella vaccine is given by injection between the ages of 12 and 15 months, followed by a booster shot at 4 to 6 years of age for further protection. Older kids under the age of 13 years who have not had chickenpox may also receive the vaccine, with the two doses given at least 3 months apart. Kids 13 years or older who have not had either chickenpox or the vaccine need two vaccine doses at least 1 month apart.

Why the Vaccine Is Recommended

The varicella vaccine prevents severe illness in almost all kids who are immunized. It's up to 85% effective in preventing mild illness. Vaccinated kids who do get chickenpox generally have a mild case.

Possible Risks

Serious reactions such as allergic reactions are extremely rare. Possible mild effects are tenderness and redness where the shot was given, fever, fatigue, and a varicella-like illness. A rash can occur up to 1 month after the injection. It may last for several days but will disappear on its own without treatment. There is a very small risk of febrile seizures after vaccination.

When to Delay or Avoid Immunization

  • if your child is currently sick, although simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization
  • if your child has an allergy to gelatin or to the antibiotic neomycin that has required medical treatment
  • if your child had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of varicella vaccine
  • if your child has recently received gamma globulin or a blood transfusion, talk to your doctor about immunization
  • if your child has a disorder that affects the immune system, such as cancer; is taking prednisone, steroids, or other immunosuppressive drugs; or is undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • pregnant women should wait until after delivery for vaccination

Caring for Your Child After Immunization

Pain and fever may be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either medication, and find out the appropriate dose.

When to Call the Doctor

  • if you aren't sure if the vaccine should be postponed or avoided
  • if there are problems after the immunization

MCV4

The meningitis vaccine protects against meningococcal disease, a serious bacterial infection that can lead to bacterial meningitis.

Vaccination is recommended when kids are 11 or 12 years old, with a booster given at age 16. It also can be given to kids 13 to 18 years old who haven't been previously vaccinated; and those who have their first dose between the ages of 13 and 15 should receive a booster dose between the ages of 16 and 18.

Previously unvaccinated college freshmen who will be living in a dormitory setting and those entering the military should receive a single dose.

Two doses 8 weeks apart are recommended for kids between the ages of 2 and 10 with certain high-risk medical problems. When medical problems continue, these kids also need a booster dose a few years later, depending on the age at which the first dose was given.

Why the Vaccine Is Recommended

Bacterial meningitis, an inflammation of the membrane that protects the brain and spinal cord, is a rare but highly contagious disease that can spread rapidly among kids who are in close quarters. It can be life-threatening if not promptly treated.

Possible Risks

Some of the most common side effects are swelling, redness, and pain at the site of the injection, along with headache, fever, or fatigue. Severe problems, such as allergic reactions, are rare.

When to Delay or Avoid Immunization

  • if your child tends has had allergic reactions to the DTaP vaccine or to latex
  • if your child has a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disease of the nervous system which causes progressive weakness
  • if your child is currently sick, although simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization

Caring for Your Child After Immunization

Your child may experience fever, soreness, and some swelling and redness in the area where the shot was given. Pain and fever may be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either medication, and to find out the appropriate dose.

A warm, damp cloth or a heating pad also may help reduce soreness. Moving or using the limb that has received the injection often reduces the soreness.

When to Call the Doctor

  • if you aren't sure if the vaccine should be postponed or avoided
  • if there are problems after the immunization

Hepatitis A

The hepatitis A virus (HAV) causes fever, nausea, vomiting, and jaundice, and can lead to community-wide epidemics. Childcare centers are a common site of outbreaks.

The vaccine is recommended for children 12 to 23 months old, followed by a second dose 6 months later. Although in the past the vaccine was recommended for older kids and adults who were at high risk for the disease (such as those who lived in or traveled to locations with high rates of HAV), the vaccine is now recommended for anyone who desires immunity to the disease.

Why the Vaccine Is Recommended

Besides protecting the individual child, vaccination against HAV can help prevent epidemics from developing. Some infected kids do not have any symptoms, and can spread the virus to others. Having large numbers of young children vaccinated against HAV can limit the spread of the disease in a community.

Possible Risks

Side effects are usually mild fever, and tenderness, swelling, and redness at the site of the injection. Allergic reactions to the vaccine are rare.

When to Delay or Avoid Immunization

  • if your child is currently sick, although simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization
  • if your child had an allergic reaction to the first dose of hepatitis A vaccine

Caring for Your Child After Immunization

Your child may have fever, soreness, and some swelling and redness in the area where the shot was given. Pain and fever may be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either medication, and find out the appropriate dose.

When to Call the Doctor

  • if you aren't sure if the vaccine should be postponed or avoided
  • if there are problems after the immunization

Rotavirus

Rotavirus is a common virus that causes diarrhea, especially in infants and young children. Childcare centers are a common site of outbreaks.

The vaccine, which is a liquid given by mouth, is recommended at ages 2 and 4 months, as well as a dose at 6 months, depending on the brand vaccine used.

Why the Vaccine Is Recommended

Rotavirus can cause severe diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration, and for some kids, hospitalization. Vaccination against rotavirus can help stop spread in the community, in addition to protecting the individual child.

Possible Risks

Side effects can include diarrhea and vomiting, in addition to fever.

When to Delay or Avoid Immunization

  • if your child is currently sick, although simple colds should not prevent immunization
  • if your child had an allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine
  • let the doctor know if your child has an allergy to latex, since one of vaccines available has a latex applicator
  • if your child has an abnormality of the digestive system or a gastrointestinal disease, talk to your doctor about immunization
  • if your child has a history of intussusception, a type of serious bowel blockage, talk to your doctor about immunization
  • if your child has recently received gamma globulin or a blood transfusion
  • if your child has immune system problems from a disease such as cancer; is taking steroids or other immunosuppressive drugs; or is undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy

Caring for Your Child After Immunization

Depending on the age of your child, fever may be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either medication, and to find out the appropriate dose. If vomiting or diarrhea occur, make sure to give your child small, frequent amounts of fluid and watch for signs of dehydration, such as less urine than usual.

When to Call the Doctor

  • if you aren't sure if the vaccine should be postponed or avoided
  • if there are problems after the immunization

HPV

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that causes genital warts and changes in the cervix that can result in cervical cancer. It can also lead to cancer in other areas, such as the penis, anus, mouth, and throat. Recent research suggests it may even be linked to cardiovascular disease in women.

The vaccine is given as a series of three shots over a 6-month period. It is recommended for girls and boys 11 or 12 years old, as well as for older kids who are unvaccinated.

Why the Vaccine Is Recommended

Because HPV can cause serious problems such as genital warts and some types of cancer, a vaccine is an important step in preventing infection and protecting against the spread of HPV. It works best when given before someone becomes sexually active.

Possible Risks

Side effects are usually mild fever and tenderness, swelling, and redness at the site of the injection. Dizziness, fainting, nausea, and vomiting may also occur after the shot. Allergic reactions to the vaccine are rare.

When to Delay or Avoid Immunization

  • if your child is currently sick, although simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization
  • if your child had an allergic reaction to the first dose of HPV vaccine
  • if your child has had a severe allergic reaction to yeast
  • if your daughter is pregnant
  • if your child has a bleeding disorder (discuss with your hematologist)

Caring for Your Child After Immunization

Your child may experience fever, soreness, and some swelling and redness in the area where the shot was given. Pain and fever may be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either medication, and find out the appropriate dose.

When to Call the Doctor

  • if you aren't sure if the vaccine should be postponed or avoided
  • if there are problems after the immunization

Immunization Schedule

This immunization schedule is a handy reference to help you keep track of which vaccines your child needs to receive and when.

Types of Vaccines

Some types of vaccines are:

  1. Attenuated (weakened) live viruses are used in some vaccines such as in the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
  2. Killed (inactivated) viruses or bacteria are used in some vaccines, such as in IPV.
  3. Toxoid vaccines contain an inactivated toxin produced by the bacterium. For example, the diphtheria and tetanus vaccines are toxoid vaccines.
  4. Conjugate vaccines (such as Hib) contain parts of bacteria combined with proteins.

Immunizations for Travel

Specific information about which immunizations are required by travelers to each country worldwide is available directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Ask your doctor for more information.

Depending on the type and length of travel, some vaccines may be recommended. Most immunizations should be given at least 1 month before travel. Take your child's immunization records with you when you travel internationally.

Helping Kids Through Vaccine Injections

Sometimes it's hard to tell who dreads immunizations more — parents or kids. Here are some tips to help make the procedure easier for everyone:

  • Tell older kids what's going to happen and that the shot helps to keep them healthy.
  • Tell younger kids that it's OK to cry, but also encourage them to be brave.
  • Try to be calm yourself. Your child can pick up on your concerns.
  • Distraction at the moment of the injection is helpful. Try having kids count, sing a song with you, or look away (perhaps at a picture on the wall). You may want to have a joke or funny comment ready.
  • Offer praise after the injection is over.
  • Plan something fun for after the appointment. A trip to the park or playground can make the overall immunization experience less unpleasant.

As uneasy as getting vaccinated may make both you and your child, remember that immunizations are one of the best means of protection against contagious diseases.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: October 2011

Kids Health

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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