12 Recommended Vaccines for Kids

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Are you up-to-date on the shots your youngster needs to stay healthy? Learn what vaccines are recommended for children.

Click on an item in the set below to see more info.

1. Hepatitis B Vaccine

Disease: Inflames the liver. Can cause cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer. Those infected can be lifelong carriers of the virus.

Why It Is Recommended: Infants who receive this vaccine are protected against the hepatitis B infection during childhood and adult years. Reduces risk for cirrhosis of the liver, chronic liver disease, and liver cancer.

2. Pneumococcal Vaccine (PCV)

Disease: The PVC vaccine protects against pneumococcal infections. This bacteria often causes dangerous infections including pneumonia, blood infections, and bacterial meningitis.

Why It Is Recommended: The vaccine is recommended for all children under 5 years. The vaccine stops the spread of the infection, as pneumococcus bacterium is spread from person-to-person contact.

3. Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP) Vaccine

Disease: the DTaP protects against 3 dangerous diseases: diphtheria (a serious throat infection), tetanus (a nerve disease known as lockjaw), and pertussis (a respiratory infection that can cause whooping cough).

Why It Is Recommended: The DTaP vaccine has essentially eradicated diphtheria and tetanus and significantly reduced those affected with pertussis.

4. Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib) Vaccine

Disease: Before the Hib vaccine, Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria were the leading cause of meningitis in children 5 years and younger. Meningitis is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation around the brain and spinal cord.

Why It Is Recommended: This vaccine provides long-term protection against Hib meningitis, pneumonia, pericarditis (an infection of the heart membrane), and infections of the blood, bones, and joints.

5. Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV)

Disease: This viral infection can cause permanent paralysis and even death.

Why It Is Recommended: This vaccine has helped eliminate polio in the U.S. and has not been used in the U.S. since 2000. The oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) is still used in many countries affected by polio.

6. Influenza Shot

Disease: Influenza, or the flu, is a highly contagious respiratory infection.

Why It Is Recommended: The flu shot can reduce a child's chance of catching the flu by 70% or more when the shot matches the current flu strain. The vaccine is updated each year to include recent strains of the virus.

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7. Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) Vaccines

Disease: Measles is a contagious respiratory disease that includes fever, cough, and a rash all over the body. Mumps is a contagious disease that includes fever, headache, loss of appetite, and swelling of the salivary glands. Rubella, known as the German measles or three day measles, includes a fever and rash on the body.

Why It Is Recommended: Over 95% of children who receive the MMR are protected from these illnesses throughout their lives.

8. Varicella (Chickenpox) Vaccine

Disease: Chickenpox, a common childhood illness, has symptoms of fever and an itchy rash of spots.

Why It Is Recommended: The vaccine prevents severe illness in almost all kids who are immunized. It's 85% effective in preventing mild illness. Children who are vaccinated usually have a mild case if they get the chickenpox.

9. Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine (MCV4)

Disease: Meningitis is the inflammation of the membranes that protect the brain and spinal cord. The vaccine protects against meningococcal disease, a bacterial infection that can lead to meningitis.

Why It Is Recommended: Preventing meningitis is especially important since it is highly contagious. If not treated, meningitis can be fatal.

10. Hepatitis A Vaccine

Disease: The hepatitis A virus (HAV) induces fever, nausea, vomiting, and jaundice.

Why It Is Recommended: Preventing this disease with a vaccine not only helps the individual, but it also prevents against an epidemic. Since some infected children don't have symptoms, they can easily spread the disease to others.

11. Rotavirus Vaccine

Effect of Disease: Rotavirus, a common virus, can cause severe diarrhea in young children and infants. For some kids it can lead to dehydration, and even hospitalization.

Why It Is Recommended: Vaccinations against rotavirus can help stop the spread in the community, as well as protect the individual. Childcare centers are common sites where the virus is spread.

12. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine

Effect of Disease: Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted disease that can cause genital warts and lead to cervical cancer.

Why It Is Recommended: This vaccine works best before someone has become sexually active. The HPV vaccine protects against the spread of infection.

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