childhood vaccine schedule

Childhood Vaccines: What You Need to Know – Jan. 7, 2021

Vaccination is one of the most important things you can do to protect your children from potentially fatal diseases. At One Community Health, we understand that the immunization schedule might be confusing and overwhelming. So in today’s post, we will break down the recommended childhood vaccine schedule by age and explain what each vaccine is for. 

What Vaccines Will Your Child Need From 0-18 Years?


HepB (hepatitis B vaccine)

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) can cause chronic infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death. 

DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis vaccine)

Diphtheria (D) is a serious bacterial infection that usually affects the mucous membranes of the nose and throat and can cause difficulty breathing, heart failure, paralysis, and even death.

Tetanus (T), also known as lockjaw, is a bacterial infection that causes muscle spasms that can lead to being unable to open the mouth, having trouble swallowing and breathing, or death.

Pertussis (aP) is a serious bacterial infection, also known as “whooping cough.” It can cause uncontrollable, violent coughing which makes it hard to breathe, eat, or drink. Pertussis can be extremely serious in babies and young children, causing pneumonia, convulsions, brain damage, or death. 

Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine)

Hib disease is a serious bacterial infection that was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in American children aged 5 and under before the Hib vaccine became available.

IPV (Inactivated poliovirus vaccine)

Polio (or poliomyelitis) is a potentially disabling and life-threatening disease caused by poliovirus. It can infect the spinal cord, causing permanent paralysis. 

PCV  (Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine)

Pneumococcal disease is a serious bacterial infection that often requires hospitalization and can lead to death. 

RV (Rotavirus vaccine)

Rotavirus is the leading cause of diarrhea in infants and children worldwide and leads to over 200,000 deaths every year. 

Influenza (Flu shot)

The flu vaccine is recommended yearly for children 6 months and older. The vaccine is given by injection with a needle (the flu shot) or by nasal spray. Your doctor will determine which is best, depending on your child’s age and health. 

MMR (Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine) 

Measles (M) is a highly contagious viral infection that causes fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes, and a rash that spreads over the entire body. It can lead to seizures, ear infections, diarrhea, and pneumonia. Serious measles cases can cause brain damage or death.

Mumps (M) is a viral infection that primarily affects the salivary glands, causing fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, decreased appetite, and swollen/painful salivary glands. It can lead to more serious consequences such as deafness, swelling of the brain and/or the protective tissue surrounding the spinal cord, and in rare instances, death.

Rubella (R) is a viral infection that causes fever, sore throat, rash, headache, and eye irritation. Half of infected teenagers and adult women experience arthritis. Pregnant women are at risk for miscarriage or serious birth defects. 

Varicella (Chickenpox vaccine)

Chicken pox is a viral infection that causes an itchy rash that usually lasts around a week, fever, fatigue, decreased appetite, and a headache. It can lead to skin infections, pneumonia, and swelling of the brain and/or protective tissue surrounding the spinal cord, as well as blood, bone, or joint infections. Some people who have chickenpox develop a painful rash called shingles later as an adult.

HepA (HepA vaccine)

Hep A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. Causes inflammation and affects the liver’s ability to function normally. The Hepatitis A vaccine is given as a series of 2 shots at least 6 months apart. 

HPV (Human papillomavirus vaccine)

HPV stands for human papillomavirus. There are over 100 varieties of HPV. The virus is transferred from person to person primarily through sexual contact. HPV infection may cause contagious warts on the skin or mucous membranes. In some cases it can lead to cervical and other kinds of cancer. 

This vaccine is given in a series of 2 shots over a 6- to 12-month period. It can be given as early as age 9. For teens and young adults (ages 15–26 in girls and boys both), it is given in 3 shots over 6 months. It’s recommended for both girls and boys to prevent genital warts and some types of cancer. 

MenACWY (Meningococcal conjugate vaccine)

Protects against four kinds of bacteria that cause meningitis, or infection of the spinal cord and brain that can lead to death in serious cases. A booster dose is recommended at age 16.

MenB (Meningococcal B vaccine)

The MenB vaccine may be given to teens in 2 or 3 doses, depending on the brand. Unlike the meningococcal conjugate vaccine, this is an optional additional meningococcal vaccine that is given based on risk factors for developing meningitis. 

Childhood Vaccine Schedule


  • HepB. The first dose of the hepatitis B vaccine is generally given within 24 hours of birth.


1–2 months

  • HepB. The second dose should be given 1 to 2 months after the first dose.


2 months

  • DaTp
  • Hib 
  • IPV 
  • PCV 
  • RV 


4 months

  • DTaP
  • Hib
  • IPV
  • PCV
  • RV


6 months

  • DTaP
  • Hib. A third dose may be needed, depending on the brand used with prior Hib vaccinations.
  • PCV
  • RV. A third dose may be needed, depending on the brand used with prior RV vaccinations.
  • Influenza. This vaccine is first given at 6 months and then should be given annually. 


6–18 months

  • HepB
  • IPV


12–15 months

  • MMR
  • Varicella
  • Hib
  • PCV


12–23 months

  • HepA


15–18 months

  • DTaP


4–6 years

  • DTaP
  • MMR
  • IPV
  • Varicella


11–12 years

  • HPV 
  • Tdap 
  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MenACWY)


16–18 years

  • Meningococcal conjugate (MenACWY) booster 
  • Meningococcal B vaccine 


Why do we need a childhood vaccine schedule? 

According to the CDC, the schedule is based on research that determines how the developing immune symptoms in children will respond to vaccines at various ages. It also is timed based on what age your child is likely to come into contact with each disease. Getting vaccines on time ensures your child is protected from potentially serious diseases, while protecting those around them as well.

Pediatrician in Sacramento

Vaccines are the most effective way to protect your own child and prevent the spread of infectious disease. Vaccination and child wellness visits are an important part of your child’s over health and wellbeing. If you are looking for an affordable pediatrician in Sacramento, give One Community Health a call. We accept walk-ins, or you can make an appointment by calling 916-443-3299.

Image used under creative commons license – commercial use (1/7/2021)
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

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