Know Your Toddler's Immunization Needs

April 14, 2015

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), most children need as many as 10 immunizations before age 2 to prevent common childhood diseases such as measles, chicken pox, diphtheria or meningitis.

Immunizations begin at birth, and your toddler needs additional doses of the following vaccines to stay healthy:

  1. Hepatitis B vaccine. This protects against a virus that may cause serious liver disease. The third dose of hepatitis B vaccine should be given no later than 18 months.
  2. DTaP vaccine. This prevents diphtheria, a potentially fatal throat infection; tetanus; and pertussis (whooping cough). Your toddler should receive this vaccine in a five-dose series at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15–18 months and 4–6 years.
  3. H. Influenza type b (Hib) vaccine. This is a major cause of spinal meningitis, pneumonia and other serious infections. Your child should receive a booster dose at 12 to 15 months.
  4. Inactivated Polio (IPV) vaccine. Your toddler should receive his or her third and fourth doses of the vaccine for polio at 18 months and at 4 years.
  5. Pneumococcal Conjugate vaccine. This protects against meningitis, pneumonia, and serious infections in the brain, blood stream and ears. Your toddler should receive his or her third dose at 6 months and fourth dose at 12–15 months.
  6. Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) vaccine. Your child needs to receive doses of the MMR vaccine at 12 to 15 months of age and at 4 to 6 years of age.
  7. Varicella vaccine. Chicken pox can cause serious complications such as bacterial skin infections, pneumonia, and infections of the brain. If your child has not already had chicken pox, he or she should receive his or her first dose of the vaccine at 12–15 months and the second dose at 4–6 years.
  8. Hepatitis A. This vaccine prevents a virus causing liver disease and should be given a two-dose series between 12 and 23 months.
  9. Rotavirus vaccine. Rotavirus vaccines have helped reduce the number of children hospitalized for severe rotavirus-associated diarrhea and should be given at 2 and 4 months of age.
  10. Influenza vaccine. This vaccine can begin as early as age 6 months and should be given annually.

Sound Advice from Experts

To help alleviate apprehension of immunizing children, AAP offers parents a series of audio interviews with pediatricians, infectious disease experts and others that include answers to questions such as:

  • Are there toxins in vaccines?
  • Is it better to let your child get chickenpox naturally?
  • What is “herd immunity?”
  • Is the HPV vaccine safe?
  • Do vaccines cause autism?
  • How dangerous is the flu?
  • Why should infants get the Hepatitis B vaccine?
  • Do babies have natural immunity against diseases?
  • Can too many vaccines overwhelm a child’s immune system?

Kid-Friendly Care Close to Home

Give your child a shot at good health and be sure to get any vaccinations he/she may need.

HRMC’s pediatrician Jesse Van Heukelom, MD, provides pediatric care for newborns through adolescent children and can administer vaccinations and answer questions parents may have. Located in the HRMC Physicians Clinic at 534 Oregon Ave., appointments with Dr. Jesse can be made by calling (605) 353-7660.