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Recommended Visits and Immunization Schedule

Here's a quick-glance table summarizing the recommended immunizations and additional tests performed during each well child visit, ages birth through 18 years.

What do these vaccines exactly protect against?


Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a virus that attacks the liver and can cause lifelong infection leading to liver cirrhosis (scarring), liver cancer, liver failure, and even death. It can be transmitted from an infected mother to her fetus/newborn, through blood transfusions, IV drug use, and sexual encounters.


DTaP/Tdap (Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis/Tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis)

Diphtheria is a potentially life-threatening infection caused by a bacteria that produces a dangerous toxin. It can lead to breathing difficulties, heart failure, paralysis due to nerve inflammation, and even death. It is transmitted by airborne respiratory droplets and saliva.


Tetanus is a serious disease caused by a bacteria that are found in soil, dust, and manure. It can enter the body through any open skin such as cuts or puncture wounds. The bacteria responsible for tetanus produce a toxin that cause painful muscle contractions. It can cause a person's neck and jaw muscles to "lock," making it difficult to open the mouth or swallow.


Pertussis or "whopping cough" is a highly contagious respiratory infection. It causes severe, uncontrollable coughing fits, often making it difficult to breathe. It is especially dangerous for infants and can be life-threatening in those less than age 1. It is transmitted by airborne respiratory droplets.


Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b)

Hib is a bacteria that can cause serious infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, blood, airway, lungs, skin, and joints. It is spread through airborne respiratory droplets.


Poliomyelitis

Polio is a very serious and contagious infection of the brain and/or spinal cord leading to paralysis, permanent disability, and even death. It is transmitted in a fecal-oral route, meaning contact with an infected person's feces and your mouth. This can happen through direct contact, contact with contaminated surfaces/objects, drinking of contaminated water or food. It can also be transmitted through airborne respiratory droplets, although less common


Rotavirus

Rotavirus can cause a serious intestinal infection leading to vomiting and severe, watery diarrhea in infants and young children. Young infants and children are especially vulnerable to dehydration which can be life-threatening. It is usually transmitted in a fecal-oral route (contact with an infected person's feces either directly or through contaminated food, water, or surface).


Pneumococcal disease

This is a disease caused by a bacteria that often cause ear and sinus infections, pneumonia, and blood infections. While this bacteria can affect all children, those who are immunocompromised due to sickle cell disease, diabetes, chronic kidney, heart disease, lung disease, cochlear implants, and HIV disease are particularly at risk for developing severe disease. It is transmitted by airborne respiratory droplets, saliva and contact with nasal secretions.

MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)

Measles is a highly contagious infection that can be dangerous especially for young children. It causes high fevers, runny nose, cough, inflammation of the eyes, and rash. Complications include inflammation and swelling of the brain leading to brain damage and even death. It is transmitted by airborne respiratory droplets and contact with contaminated surfaces.


Mumps is caused by a contagious virus that causes fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, and swelling of the salivary glands. This often leads to swelling and tenderness of the cheeks and jaw. Complications include inflammation of the testis, ovaries and breast tissue, brain and spine cord, and rarely deafness. It is transmitted by airborne respiratory droplets.


Rubella is caused by a contagious virus that leads to fever, runny nose, cough, sore throat, and rash. Infection of pregnant women is especially dangerous and can cause miscarriage or serious birth defects the developing baby. It is transmitted by airborne respiratory droplets and infected mothers can also pass it on to their babies.


Varicella (Chickenpox)

Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease that causes an itchy, blister-like rash that can spread to the entire body. The virus that causes chickenpox can also cause shingles in infected persons later on as the virus remains in the body permanently even after resolution of the initial chickenpox infection. It usually remains inactive but can sometimes become activated to cause painful blisters along with fever and headaches. Complications of chickenpox include skin bacterial infection, infection of the lung, infection and swelling of the brain, blood infection, bleeding complications, and even death. The virus is transmitted by close contact with infected people, airborne respiratory droplets, and direct contact with the fluid inside the blister lesions. Unvaccinated persons can become infected through direct contact with those who have shingles but would develop chickenpox instead of shingles.


Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a virus that attacks the liver and causes inflammation of the liver. Unlike hepatitis B or C, infection with hepatitis A virus does not lead to chronic liver disease but infected persons may have symptoms for 1-2 months (or even longer) or develop relapsing disease. It is transmitted through close contact with an infected person including sexual contact and ingestion of contaminated food and water.


Meningococcal disease/meningitis

Meningococcal disease is very serious, rapidly progressing, and life-threatening. It causes infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) as well as blood. The two types of meningitis vaccines (MenACWY and MenB) protect against the most common bacteria causing meningitis. Up to 20% of infected patients end up with long-term disability due to loss of limb(s), deafness, and damage to the brain and nervous system. Up to 10-15% of infected persons die despite treatment. It is transmitted by airborne respiratory infections and contact with saliva.


HPV

Human papilloma virus infection is the most common sexually transmitted disease. It can lead to genital warts as well as cancer of the genital area (vulva, vagina, cervix, penis, and anus) and throat. It is transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected person. Infected mothers can also transmit it to their babies.


* Information adapted from the CDC website.



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