Vaccines for Infants & Toddlers

Written by Amy Boulanger | Published on November 6, 2014
Medically Reviewed by Brenda B. Spriggs, MD, MPH, MBA on November 6, 2014

Vaccines Recommended for Infants

Breast milk gives young infants protection against many diseases. It contains antibodies passed from their mothers. However, this immunity wears off within a year. After that, immunization can protect babies and small children from disease. Vaccines can also help prevent the spread of disease.

Numerous vaccines are recommended during childhood. These vaccines protect against diseases that used to be devastating or even deadly. Today, many of those deadly childhood diseases have been eliminated in the Western world.

Childhood Vaccinations

A number of vaccinations are recommended for infants and children up to 2 years of age. These include:

  • HepB, which protects against hepatitis B (infection of the liver)
  • DTaP, which protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Hib, which protects against Haemophilus influenzae type b. This infection used to be a leading cause of bacterial meningitis.
  • PCV, which protects against pneumococcal disease
  • IPV, which protects against polio
  • RV, which protects against rotavirus, a major cause of diarrhea
  • Influenza, which protects against the flu. This is a seasonal vaccine that is given yearly.
  • MMR, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles)
  • Varicella, which protects against chickenpox
  • HepA, which protects against hepatitis A

When to Get Vaccinated

Vaccinations are not all given right after a baby is born. They are spaced throughout the first 24 months. Many are given in multiple stages. 

Don’t worry, though. You don’t have to remember the vaccination schedule yourself. Your pediatrician will guide you through the process.

The recommended vaccination timeline is as follows:

Newborns

  • HepB: The first HepB vaccine is given at the time of birth. HepB is administered in three shots, preferably within six months. Most states require HepB vaccination for a child to enter school.

At 2 Months

  • HepB dose two
  • DTaP requires five doses during infancy and early childhood. These are started at 2 months old. The final DTaP dose is given at age 4 to 6. Tdap boosters are then given during adolescence and adulthood.
  • PCV is given in a series of four doses. It’s usually started at 2 months. 
  • Hib vaccination starts at 2 months of age. It is given in four doses.
  • Polio (IPV) vaccination is given in four doses. It also starts at 2 months.
  • RV is given in two or three doses, depending on the vaccine used.

At 4 Months

  • DTaP
  • PCV
  • Hib
  • IPV
  • RV

At 6 Months

  • HepB
  • DTaP
  • PCV
  • Hib
  • IPV
  • RV
  • Annual flu shots can be given to infants starting at age 6 months. Flu season can run from September to May.

At 1 Year

  • MMR is given in two doses. The first dose is recommended between 12 and 15 months. The second dose is usually given between ages 4 and 6. However, it can be given as soon as 28 days after the first dose.  
  • PCV
  • Hib
  • Varicella is recommended for all healthy children. It’s given in two doses. The first dose is given at 12 to 15 months. The second is given when the child is 4 to 6 years old. Aspirin products should be avoided for six weeks after this vaccine.  
  • HepA is given at 1 year of age.
  • seasonal influenza (as appropriate)

At 15 to 18 Months

  • DTaP
  • seasonal influenza (as appropriate)
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