What vaccinations does my child need?

Here are some general immunization guidelines for children from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):

Young children

  • Children under age six get a series of shots to protect against measles, mumps, rubella, polio, chicken pox, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, rotavirus and hepatitis.


  • All 11- and 12-year-olds need boosters for some earlier vaccinations plus meningitis and HPV.

Talk to your doctor or nurse about which shots your child needs.

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Dr. Thomas Jacob, MD

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) agree on a common schedule of vaccines to keep children healthy. The number of vaccines is front-loaded because infants have the highest risk of developing these life-threatening diseases.

The standard schedule includes three doses of DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), Hib (Haemophilus influenzae), Prevnar (pneumococcus), hepatitis B, IPV (inactivated polio vaccine) and rotavirus by 6 months of age. MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), VZV (chickenpox), the two-dose series of hepatitis A, and the fourth doses of Prevnar, DTaP and HiB are recommended during the second year of life.

Vaccines are spaced out after the first two years of life, and children should receive a second dose of MMR and VZV, in addition to DTaP and IPV, between the ages of 4-6 years. At age 11-12 years, they are due to receive a booster TdaP and the first of two doses of the meningococcal vaccine, as well as begin their HPV series. In addition, children should receive yearly flu vaccines starting at 6 months of age.

The recommendations for vaccinations during the first year include 3 doses of hepatitis B, polio, DTaP (pertussis, tetanus, diphtheria), Prevnar (pneumococcus), HiB (haemophilus influenza) and rotavirus. The flu vaccination is recommended for all children older than 6 months of age. At 12 to 15 months, it is recommended that children receive hepatitis A, the 4th dose of HiB, varicella (chicken pox), the 4th dose of Prevnar, and the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella). After 24 months, the child will need a second varicella and hepatitis A. At ages 11 to 12, kids are recommended to start the three-part HPV series and receive a meningococcal vaccine.

The following is a partial, chronological list of recommended immunizations and the number of shots in each series:

  • Hep B: Protects against the hepatitis B virus, an infection of the liver (3).
  • DTaP: This combined vaccine protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, also known as whooping cough (5).
  • Hib: Protects against haemophilus influenza type b, which can lead to meningitis, pneumonia and a severe throat infection (3-4).
  • PCV (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine): Protects against pneumococcal disease, which can cause ear infections and more serious illnesses (4).
  • IPV (inactivated poliovirus): Protects against polio (4).
  • MMR: Protects against measles, mumps and rubella or German measles (2).
  • Varicella: Protects against varicella, also known as chickenpox (2).
  • Hep A: Protects against the hepatitis A virus.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.