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Vaccines: Vaccination Schedule

Keep reading to get a detailed run-down of each vaccine, and to find out at which age the various vaccines are generally given. To see the big picture schedule of all vaccines from birth until age 6, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s immunization schedule, which is updated annually and is also approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians. There is also a “catch-up” vaccine schedule for a child who may have fallen behind on his shots due to illness, or for an adopted child whose vaccination status is unknown.

In 2010, the vaccine schedule was changed to state that combination shots were generally preferred over single vaccinations. This is because the vaccine schedule includes more shots than it did years ago. Not only does this reduce the number of shots (and tearful episodes), it also insures that your child is vaccinated at the right window of opportunity when she is most vulnerable to the illness. With individual shots, there’s that much more of a chance that a missed appointment will leave your child open to exposure.

Combination vaccines also reduce the number of injections that your child needs to receive in order to be protected against all of the disease on the vaccination schedule. The most common combination vaccines are below, though new ones are regularly developed. In addition to the ones that are already on the schedule (MMR, DTaP, PCV), here are some of the most common combination shots. Most do not have an increased rate of a reaction, though some, like the MMRV, have a higher rate of side effects, like fever. 

  • Hep B/Hib
  • Hep A/Hep B
  • DTaP/Hep B/IPV
  • MMR/Var (MMRV)

Some parents are concerned about too many immunizations at newborn check-ups, and multiple vaccines administered at the same time. Dr. Bob Sears offers a widely-used alternative schedule that spreads out the shots in The Vaccine Book.

Whatever schedule you decide on, keeping all these shots straight is tough. Stay on top of what immunizations your child gets when with our handy downloadable vaccine tracker.

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