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lives are saved each year by vaccines

Vaccines Improve Quality of Life

Vaccines have saved more human lives than any other invention in history. Today, it’s estimated that childhood vaccines prevent 4 million deaths worldwide every year.

Despite what many think, vaccines aren’t new. While formulations continue to improve, most vaccines we use today have been around for decades, proving to be safe and effective for generations of people.

It’s important to know that vaccination is most effective with collective effort. Community immunity also known as herd immunity (when the whole community is protected from a disease) can only occur when a large amount of the population gets vaccinated. It was community immunity that ultimately led to the eradication of smallpox 1980, sparing all of us today from this devastating illness.

Childhood Immunization Schedule

The Childhood Vaccination Schedule is meant to protect children against serious illness as early as it is safe and effective to do so. There is no evidence that delaying vaccines is safer.

The recommended schedule is developed by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The ACIP is a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) committee and collaborates with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians and the United States' Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The ACIP meets three times a year at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia to thoroughly review materials including, but not limited to, vaccine research, vaccine effectiveness and safety data, clinical trial results, and manufacturer’s labeling or package insert information. ACIP members also participate in work groups, which actively stay up to date on specific vaccines and vaccine safety.

ACIP meetings are open to the public and available online via webcast. For more information about how the ACIP operates and makes vaccine recommendations, see the CDC website. Individual states determine which recommended vaccines are required for enrollment into child care, preschool, grades K-12, as well as college and military. (Source: Plain Talk About Immunizations manual). To read more about the vaccines required in Washington state, visit the School and Child Care Immunization Information for Families web page.

Recommended age range for most children
Ask clinician if vaccination is needed
Vaccine Birth 1 Month 2 Months 4 Months 6 Months 7 Months 8-9 Months 12 Months 15 Months 18 Months 19-24 Months
RSV
1st Dose
1st Dose
Hepatitis B
1st Dose
2nd Dose
3rd Dose
Rotavirus
1st Dose
2nd Dose
3rd Dose
DTap
1st Dose
2nd Dose
3rd Dose
4th Dose
Hib
1st Dose
2nd Dose
3rd Dose
3rd/4th Dose
Pneumococcal
1st Dose
2nd Dose
3rd Dose
4th Dose
Polio
1st Dose
2nd Dose
3rd Dose
COVID-19
1 or More Dose
Influenza/Flu
1 or 2 Doses Annually
MMR
1 Dose
1 Dose
Chickenpox
1st Dose
Hepatitis A
1 Dose
2 Dose series
Meningococcal
1st Dose
Vaccine 2-3 Years 4-6 Years 7-10 Years 11-12 Years 13-15 Years 16-17 Years 18 Years
D Tap
5th Dose
Polio
4th Dose
COVID-19
Influenza/Flu
MMR
2nd Dose
Chicken Pox
2nd Dose
Tdap
1st Dose
HPV
2 Dose Series
2 Dose Series
3 Dose Series
Meningococcal
1st Dose
2nd Dose
Meningococcal B
2 Dose Series
Dengue
3 Dose Series
RSV
1st Dose
Mpox
2 Dose Series
Sources:
  1. CDC Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule by Age Birth-18 Years Immunization Schedule - Healthcare Providers | CDC.
  2. AAP Immunization Schedule by Age Immunization Schedules | Red Book Online | American Academy of Pediatrics (aap.org).

Vaccine Information

Vaccine Other Names Dosage / Timing Disease Characteristics Benefits of Vaccination Vaccine Risks Public Health Impact
Chickenpox Varicella

Two doses

  • First dose: 12 to 15 months old
  • Second dose: 4 to 6 years old
Chickenpox is an incredibly contagious virus that spreads through direct and airborne contact.

Chickenpox can cause infected blisters, bleeding disorders, brain swelling (encephalitis), lung infection (pneumonia), and death.
Vaccination is over 99% effective at preventing chickenpox.

Most people experience minor or no side effects. The most common side effects of the chickenpox vaccine are:

  • Sore arm, redness, or rash at injection site
  • Fever
  • Allergic reaction (rarely)

Before the vaccine, chickenpox made over 4 million people sick every year.

This vaccine has reduced disease cases by over 97%. In 2017, there were only 8,297 cases of chickenpox.

HPV Human Papillomavirus

Two or three doses depending on age when first dose is given.

  • Before 15th birthday, two doses recommended:
    • First dose: 9 to 12 years old
    • Second dose: 6 to 12 months after first dose
  • After 15th birthday, three doses recommended:
    • First dose: when possible
    • Second Dose: 1 to 2 months after first dose
    • Third dose: 6 months after first dose

HPV is an incredibly common virus that spreads easily through intimate skin-to-skin contact. People of all genders can get HPV and spread it to others.

Most people with HPV don’t show any symptoms and don’t realize they have it. For some people, the virus can cause painless growths or lumps around the genitals (genital warts).

Some types of HPV can cause cancer, most commonly cervical cancer in women and mouth/throat cancer in men.

In the U.S., at least 35,900 people get cancer caused by HPV each year.

Vaccination prevents over 90% of cancers caused by HPV.

Most people experience minor or no side effects. The most common side effects of the HPV vaccine are:

  • Soreness, redness or swelling at injection site
  • Fever or headache
Since HPV vaccination was first recommended in 2006, infections with high-risk HPV types have dropped 88% among teen girls and 81% among young adult women.
MMR Measles, Mumps, Rubella

Two doses

  • First dose: 12 to 15 months old
  • Second dose: 4 to 6 years old

Measles often begins with a fever, cold-like symptoms, and rash (after 3-5 days.) About 1 in 5 people with measles become hospitalized. In severe cases, it can cause brain swelling (encephalitis), lung infection (pneumonia), complications in the brain 7-10 years after infection, and death.

Mumps usually involves pain and swelling in the salivary glands. Other symptoms include trouble talking, chewing, earache, and fever. In rare cases, mumps can cause inflammation of tissue surrounding the spinal cord (meningitis), brain swelling (encephalitis), swelling of testicles or ovaries, deafness, and death.

Rubella is a contagious viral disease. Common symptoms include low-grade fever, sore throat, and rash. It can be especially dangerous for pregnant women, sometimes causing miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, and birth defects.

Two doses of the vaccine are 97% effective at preventing measles and rubella, and 88% effective against mumps.

Vaccinated people who get mumps have much milder symptoms.

Most people experience minor or no side effects. The most common side effects of the MMR vaccine are:

  • Sore arm or redness at injection site
  • Fever
  • Mild rash
  • Temporary pain and joint stiffness

Before vaccination was available, 3 to 4 million people got measles every year in the U.S. This led to 48,000 hospitalizations, 1,000 cases of brain swelling (encephalitis), and 400 to 500 deaths a year. Since the introduction of vaccine in 1963, measles cases have reduced by 99%.

Since the mumps vaccination program began in 1967, mumps cases have decreased in the U.S. by 99%.

Before the rubella vaccination program began in 1969, rubella was a common and widespread infection in the U.S. Today, fewer than 10 U.S. cases are reported each year.

Hepatitis A Hep A

Two doses

  • First dose: 12 to 23 months old
  • Second dose: 6 months after first dose

Hep A is a highly contagious liver infection that’s spread through contaminated feces. It can cause mild to severe illness.

Symptoms rarely show in children. However, some may develop:

  • Yellowing of their skin or mucous membranes (Jaundice)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Upset stomach
  • Throwing up
  • Stomach pain
  • Fever
  • Dark urine
  • Light-colored stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
Vaccination is nearly 100% effective at preventing the disease. No serious side effects have been reported from the Hepatitis A vaccine. The most common side effect is soreness at the injection site. Since the vaccine was first recommended in 1996, cases of Hepatitis A in the United States declined dramatically.
Hepatitis B Hep B

Three doses

  • First dose: at birth
  • Second dose: 1 to 2 months old
  • Third dose: 6 to 18 months old

Hep B is a liver infection that spreads through bodily fluids like blood, semen, and others.

Some people are only sick for a few weeks, while others can develop chronic or lifelong infection.

Children are often asymptomatic. However, they may develop:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored stool
  • Joint pain
  • Yellowing of their skin or mucous membranes (jaundice)
Vaccination is nearly 100% effective at preventing the disease. No serious side effects have been reported from the Hepatitis B vaccine. The most common side effect is soreness at the injection site. Since the vaccine was first recommended in 1996, cases of Hepatitis B in the United States declined dramatically.
Rotavirus Rotavirus

Two doses or three doses, depending on the brand*

  • First dose: 2 months old
  • Second dose: 4 months old
  • Third dose: 6 months old (only for RotaTeq)

*Rotarix=two doses

RotaTeq=three doses

Rotavirus is a contagious disease spread through oral contact with infected objects, food, or hands. It's especially dangerous for infants and young children.

Children infected by rotavirus can develop:

  • Watery diarrhea
  • Vomiting

This may cause dehydration resulting in:

  • Decreased urination
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Dizziness
  • Crying with few or no tears
  • Unusual sleepiness or fussiness
  • Death
7 out of 10 babies who complete a rotavirus vaccine series are protected from all rotavirus infections. 9 out of 10 are protected from severe rotavirus.

Most people experience minor or no side effects. The most common side effects of the rotavirus vaccine are:

  • Irritability
  • Mild/temporary diarrhea or vomiting

The vaccine has reduced rotavirus hospitalizations and death in babies and young children. Before the vaccine, rotavirus was the leading cause of severe diarrhea in this age group.

DTaP/Tdap Tetanus, Diphtheria,
Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Five doses (three doses plus two boosters) NOTE: The childhood vaccine is referred to as DTaP. The adolescent/adult vaccine is referred to as Tdap.

DTaP

  • First dose: 2 months old
  • Second dose: 4 months old
  • Third dose: 6 months old
  • Fourth dose: 15 to 18 months old
  • Fifth dose: 4 to 6 years old

Tdap

  • Preteens 11 to 12 years old should get an additional Tdap vaccine to boost immunity.
  • Pregnant people should also get a Tdap vaccine in the beginning of the 3rd trimester to protect babies from whooping cough in the first few months of life.

Diphtheria is a highly contagious respiratory and skin disease.

Respiratory diphtheria spreads through direct or airborne contact with bacteria. It can cause weakness, sore throat, mild fever, swollen glands in the neck, and gray coating in the nose and throat.

Diphtheria skin infections spread through infected open sores.

More serious complications include swelling of the heart muscle, heart failure, coma, paralysis, and death.

Tetanus is a bacterial disease that occurs when skin wounds get infected with Clostridium tetani, a bacteria found in soil, dust, and manure. Tetanus can be very serious, causing difficulty swallowing and breathing, muscle spasms, lockjaw, broken bones, and death.

Pertussis is an extremely contagious bacterial disease that spreads through direct or airborne contact. Infected babies may turn blue or purple and struggle to breathe, whereas teens may show milder symptoms similar to a common cold. Teens who haven’t been vaccinated may have more severe coughing fits and health implications later in life including lung infections (pneumonia) and death.

Studies show when children get all 5 doses of the DTaP vaccine on schedule, it fully protects about 98% of them in the first year after the last dose. After 5 years, it protects about 71%.

Most people experience minor or no side effects. The most common side effects of the DTaP vaccine are:

  • Soreness or swelling at injection site
  • Fever
  • Fussiness
  • Feeling tired
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Rarely, seizures, non-stop crying, or high fever over 105°F may occur

The most common side effects of the Tdap vaccine are:

  • Pain, redness, or swelling at injection site
  • Mild fever
  • Headache
  • Feeling tired
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomachache

Diphtheria used to be a major cause of illness and death among children. Thanks to the vaccine, it’s now nearly unheard of in the U.S.

Before the tetanus vaccine, states reported between 500 and 600 cases each year. Today, tetanus is uncommon in the United States, with an average of 30 reported cases a year.

Before the pertussis vaccine, 200,000 children got sick and up to 9,000 died each year in the U.S. After the vaccine was introduced, whooping cough cases reached an all-time low in the 1970s.

Hib Haemophilus Influenzae
Type B

Three or four doses depending on the brand*

  • First dose: 2 months old
  • Second dose: 4 months old
  • Third dose: 6 months old
  • Fourth dose: 12 to 15 months old

Babies younger than 6 weeks old should not get the Hib vaccine.

*PedvaxHIB=three doses (the third dose at 6 months old is skipped in this case).

ActHIB, Hiberix, Pentacel, Vaxelis= four doses

Hib is a contagious bacterial disease that mainly spreads through airborne or direct contact. It can also enter the blood, causing severe infections.

The infection can stay in the nose or throat showing no symptoms. However, more serious symptoms can occur, including infection of the fluid around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis), intellectual disability, life-threatening infection that can block the windpipe and lead to serious breathing problems (epiglottis), lung infection (pneumonia), and death.

Vaccination is at least 93% effective at preventing the disease.

Vaccinated people who do get sick have much milder symptoms.

Most children experience minor or no side effects. The most common side effects of the Hib vaccine are:

  • Fever
  • Redness, warmth, or swelling at the injection site

Before vaccination was available, this disease made 20,000 people sick a year.

The vaccine has reduced cases by 99%.

Pneumococcal Invasive Pneumococcal
Disease

Four doses

  • First dose: 2 months old
  • Second dose: 4 months old
  • Third dose: 6 months old
  • Fourth dose: 12 to 15 months old

In certain situations, children 2 to 18 years old may need additional doses.

Pneumococcal disease is a bacterial infection that spreads through direct or airborne contact.

The bacteria can remain in the nose and throat causing no symptoms. However, if bacteria enters the bloodstream, it can cause stiff neck, fever, headache, eye sensitivity to light, confusion, lung infection (pneumonia), infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis), and death.

Vaccination is 75% effective against vaccine-type IPD.

Most children experience minor or no side effects. Some common side effects of the pneumococcal vaccine are:

  • Redness, swelling, pain, or tenderness at the injection site
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability
  • Feeling tired
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches or joint pain
  • Chills
Since the introduction of the vaccine, invasive pneumococcal disease has decreased by 95% in children under 5 years old.
Polio Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV), Poliomyelitis

Four doses

  • First dose: 2 months old
  • Second dose: 4 months old
  • Third dose: 6 to 18 months old
  • Fourth dose: 4 to 6 years old

Polio is a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the poliovirus. It spreads person to person through contact with contaminated feces.

Most infected children don’t show any symptoms. However, some experience flu-like symptoms in the first 2-5 days of infection.

In serious cases, it can cause infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis), paralysis or weakness of the arms and legs that may be permanent, and death.

Children who are not vaccinated against polio, behind on the recommended vaccination schedule, or traveling to countries with higher polio risk should refer to the accelerated vaccine schedule.

Two doses of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) are 90% effective or more against paralytic polio; three doses are 99% to 100% effective.

Most children experience minor or no side effects. The most common side effects of the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) are:

  • A sore spot with redness, swelling, or pain at the injection site

Polio was once one of the most feared diseases. Thanks to vaccination, wild poliovirus has been eliminated in the United States.

Polio was once one of the most feared diseases. Thanks to vaccination, wild poliovirus has been eliminated in the United States.
Meningitis Meningococcal

Two doses (one dose plus booster) NOTE: The MenACWY vaccine protects against meningococcal bacteria A, C, W, and Y. The MenB vaccine protects against meningococcal bacteria B.

MenACWY

  • First dose: 11 to 12 years
  • Booster: 16 years old

Children between 2 months and 10 years old may need to get the MenACWY vaccine if they are higher risk.

MenB

  • Teens, preferably 16 to 18 years old, may get a MenB vaccine.

Certain preteens and teens should get the MenB vaccine if they are higher risk.

Meningococcal disease is any illness caused by Neisseria meningitidis bacteria. It’s spread person-to-person through saliva.

Illnesses caused by these bacteria are often severe and deadly, causing infections of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections (septicemia).

The meningococcal vaccines available in the U.S. have all been shown to produce an immune response, suggesting the vaccines provide protection. However, data is limited on the level of effectiveness.

The most common side effects of the MenACWY vaccine are:

  • Redness or soreness where the vaccine was given
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Tiredness

The most common side effects of the MenB vaccine are:

  • Redness, soreness, or swelling at the injection site
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Fever or chills
  • Nausea or diarrhea
The vaccine has decreased rates of all meningococcal disease types in the United States.

Get downloadable information about each vaccine here.

For more information about flu vaccines, go here.



Chart Sources:

Ten Things Every Parent Should Know About Vaccines

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