Monday, October 8, 2012

8 Things to Know About Infant Immunizations

The process of getting your child immunized can be a daunting prospect. But if you meet with your doctor to plan and coordinate, it can become much more manageable. And it is important to get infants and children immunized because they are more likely to develop complications or die from vaccine-preventable illnesses. Vaccinating your children protects both your children and the community. Here are eight things to know and keep in my mind as you go through the immunization process with your child.

  1. Every person aged 6 months and older should receive the influenza vaccine annually. This includes individuals in close contact with children under 5 years of age (such as parents, grandparents, or caregivers).
  2. Children between the ages of 12 and 23 months should be vaccinated with the hepatitis A virus vaccine.
  3. All infants should receive the oral rotavirus vaccine to protect against diarrhea caused by this virus.
  4. Children should receive two doses of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine - the first between 12 to 15 months and the second between 4 and 6 years to protect from this contagious disease.
  5. Adults who have or expect to have close contact with an infant aged less than 12 months (parents, grandparents) should receive a single dose of Tdap (Tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and cellular pertussis) vaccine. This will prevent potential transmission of infection, particularly pertussis (whooping cough), from an infected adult to a young infant.
  6. Infants and young children should receive the pneumococcal vaccine (PCV13) that affords protection against serious infections, such as pneumonia and meningitis. A complete series consists of four immunizations through 18 months of age. Children who might have received an older pneumococcal vaccine (PCV7) should complete the vaccine series with PCV13. For children aged 14 months through 59 months who completed the PCV7 series, a single additional dose of PCV13 is recommended.
  7. The meningitis vaccine (meningococcal conjugate vaccine, quadrivalent - MCV4) is recommended for children aged 9 months to 23 months with certain disorders of the immune system and for children who are residents of or are travelling to countries where infection with the germ is more common.
  8. While the minimum age for immunization with the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine is 12 months, the MMR vaccine should be administered to infants aged 6 through 11 months who are travelling internationally. These children will need to receive an additional 2 doses of the MMR vaccine at 12 months of age and older.

1 comment:

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