Vaccines: How to Keep Your Child’s Shots on Track

Vaccinating your children according to the recommended immunization schedule is one of the best ways you can protect them from 14 harmful and potentially deadly diseases before their second birthday.

It can be overwhelming trying to remember what shot is needed, how often and at what age.

As a friendly reminder, here is a breakdown by age groups to help you keep track of your child’s needs.

A Healthy Start: Babies from Birth to Age 16

Getting all the shots recommended by age 6 with follow up vaccines during the teenage years will protect your child from dangerous diseases. 

Childhood Immunization Schedule

Schedule Key
Birth HepB1
2 months DTaP, IPV, Hib, HepB2, PCV1, RV1
4 months DTaP, IPV, Hib, PCV2, RV2
6 months DTaP, IPV, Hib, HepB3, PCV3, RV3
12 months MMR1, VAR1, HepA1
15 months DTap4, HIB4, PCV4
18 months HepA2
4-6 years DTaP5, IPV4, MMR2, VAR2
11-12 years Tdap, Menactra1
HPV series (0, 2 months, 6 months)
16 years Menactra2
Hep B = Hepatitis B
Hep A = Hepatitis A
DTaP = Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (acellular)
Tdap = Adolescent Tetanus, Pertussis (acellular)
Hib = Haemophilus Influenza B
IPV = inactivated Polio
MMR = Measles, Mumps, Rubella
RV = Rotavirus Vaccine
HPV = Human Papillomavirus
PCV = Pnuemococcal Vaccine
Menactra = Meningococcal
Pentacel = {DTaP-IPV-Hib}
VAR = Chicken Pox 

Influenza vaccine is recommended annually for all children and adolescents 6 months of age and older.

Regardless of age, tell the doctor about bad reactions.

Serious side effects after getting a vaccine – like a severe allergic reaction – are very rare. When your child gets a vaccine, pay extra attention to your child for a few days afterwards. If you see something that worries you, call your pediatrician.

Are immunizations safe?

Currently, the U.S. has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in its history. Vaccines are thoroughly tested for years before approved or used by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) to ensure that they are very safe.

Although there has been extensive media coverage surrounding shots and autism, research hasn’t shown any link between vaccines and autism.

Take Action!

  • If your child is late getting vaccinated, talk to your pediatrician about “catch-up” shots.
  • Find out which recommended shots your child needs and keep the list in a safe place – you will need it for school and other activities.
  • Each vaccine protects you and your child from different diseases. Some vaccines require more than one round of shots. Your child needs all of the shots on time to be fully protected.
Samira L. Brown

Samira L Brown, MD
Dr. Samira Brown earned her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and completed her pediatric internship and residency in the Combined Residency Program at Children'... read more