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NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine, Trusted Health Information from the National Institutes of Health

Family 2009

Protecting Toddlers and Teens

Children get many infectious diseases, especially in the early months and years of life. Colds, bronchitis, or croup are difficult to avoid, as are ear infections, sinusitis, and conjunctivitis (pinkeye). Vaccines prevent many childhood diseases. The following chart shows what vaccines to take, when to take them, and why.

When to Vaccinate

What Vaccine


Birth (or any age if not previously immunized) Hepatitis B (HBV) (three doses)—HepB Prevents hepatitis B, a type of liver disease that can lead to liver scarring, cancer, or failure.
1 to 4 Months HepB  
2 Months Diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis— DTaP Prevents:
Diphtheria, a serious bacterial infection that can lead to breathing problems
Tetanus, a bacterial illness that causes a painful tightening of the muscles, such as "lock jaw"
Pertussis (Whooping cough), an infectious bacterial disease that causes uncontrollable coughing
Haemophilus influenza type b vaccine (three doses)—Hib Protects against illnesses like meningitis, pneumonia, and infections of the blood, bones, and joints
Inactivated poliovirus vaccine—IPV Protects against polio, a contagious, paralyzing, and life-threatening disease
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine—PCV Protects against the pneumococcal bacterium, the leading cause of infections such as pneumonia, blood infections, and bacterial meningitis
Rotavirus vaccine (three doses)—RV Protects against severe diarrhea, mostly in babies and young children
4 Months DTaP, Hib, IPV, PCV, RV  
6 Months and Annually Influenza – Flu vaccine or flu "shot" (two doses, one month apart, for those under 9 getting a flu shot for the first time) Protects against seasonal flu
6 Months DTaP, Hib, PCV, RV  
6 – 18 Months Hep B, IPV  
12 – 15 Months Hib, PCV  
Measles, mumps and rubella (German measles) vaccine—MMR

A "3 in 1" vaccine against three potentially life-threatening diseases:
Measles, a virus that causes a rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation, and fever
Mumps, a virus causing fever, headache, and swollen glands; can lead to deafness, meningitis, swollen testicles or ovaries, and death in some cases
Rubella, also known as German measles. A generally mild disease, it can cause serious birth defects in the child of a woman who becomes infected while pregnant

Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine—Var
Note: In February 2008, the Advisory Committee
on Immunization Practices (ACIP) changed its recommendations. It had recommended giving the MMR and Varicella vaccines at the same time. Now it does not express a preference for giving them separately or at the same time.
Protects against chickenpox, a usually mild infectious disease characterized by an uncomfortable, itchy rash, fever, and headache; in adults, can cause shingles and other serious problems
12 – 23 Months Hepatitis A vaccine (two doses)—Hep A Protects against a type of liver disease
15 – 18 Months DTaP  
4 – 6 Years DTaP, MMR, IPV, Var  
11 – 12 Years Human papillomavirus vaccine—HPV In young girls, prevents most cases of genital warts and cervical cancer
Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis booster—Tdap  
Meningitis vaccine—MCV Protects against meningitis, an inflammation of the thin tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord; there are several types of meningitis
College Entrants Meningitis vaccine for college aged—MCV4 Protects against meningitis, recommended for previously unvaccinated college entrants planning to live in dormitories.

Sources:; U.S. Centers for Disease Control; CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices

Winter 2009 Issue: Volume 4 Number 1 Page 5