Immunization is the process of getting ‘shots’ or ‘jabs’ in order to prevent illness occurring subsequently. This works by administering a small amount of the bacteria responsible for a particular condition, and then allowing the child’s immune system to drive it out and to develop the correct antibodies. This way when the bacteria comes into contact in higher quantities, the body has prepared the specific defences necessary and is able to cope.
These immunization shots will normally be administered in childhood in order to protect those who are young and to prevent them from getting the condition later in life. Of course there are some restrictions as to which immunizations a child can have at certain ages, and at the same time it of course wouldn’t be well advised for a child to have multiple shots at once as this would prove too much for their immune system to handle.
As such, an immunization schedule of sorts must exist for children to recommend when the best time is for them to have certain shots. Following are a list of the immunizations that children can expect to have growing up, along with some guidance as to when they should receive them. This is not a comprehensive list however, and the recommended immunizations varies between countries and states. Furthermore the decision lies with the parent as to whether they want their children to have each shot – as some can have unpleasant side effects.
Hepatitis B – Hepatitis B is actually administered as three separate injections. The first of these is given at birth, and the second and third are given at 1-2 and 6-8 months respectively. If left, hepatitis is a condition that can cause liver problems and is a series problem.
Hepatitis A – Hepatitis A meanwhile requires two doses. The first can be administered anywhere between 1-2 years, and the second will follow on 6 months after.
Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis – This shot works for three different conditions and is given in five separate injections at the ages of 2 months, 4, 6, 15 and then 4-6 years. Tetanus injections also require regular topping up.
Pneumococcal – This vaccine is administered in four separate shots and these occur at 2, 4, 6 and 12-15 months. As the name suggests this vaccination works against pneumonia, but it also works to prevent some bacterial blood infections and bacterial meningitis.
Rotavirus – Rotavirus requires vaccination from an early age, and generally it is recommended for babies between 2 and 4 months. Depending on the specific brand of the vaccination it can sometimes require a second shot at 6 months.
Haemophilus Influenza – Technically ‘haemophilus influenza type b’ or HiB. This vaccination prevents meningitis and is given at 2 and 4 months and sometimes again at 6 months depending on the brand. A booster is also administered at 12-15 months.
Influenza – Influenza is the name for the flu which can be more serious for children. This vaccine can be used annually from 6 months to 18 years of age.
Inactivated Poliovirus – Inactive poliovirus vaccine is a vaccine against polio. It is administered at 2, 4, 6 and 18 months.
Measles, Mumps and Rubella – Measles, mumps and rubella is a vaccine that protects against all three conditions and comes in two doses at 12 to 15 months and again at 4 to 6 years.
Varicella – Varicella is a vaccine that prevents chickenpox and can be given at 12 to 15 months and a booster can be given at 4 to 6 years. Though it is usually harmless, chickenpox can be dangerous in some cases especially later in life making it a good idea to get the vaccination early on. It can also be effective later in life (up to the age of 13), in which case the two shots must be used within three months of each other. If you child has already had chickenpox then their body will produce the antibodies on its own.
Human Papillomavirus – HPV, the human papillomarvirus, protects against an STI (sexually transmitted infection) that causes genital warts and cervical cancer. This is administered every 6 months from the ages of 11 or 12.
Meningitis – Meningitis vaccines guard against meingococcal disease. Normally it will be administered at 11 to 12 years and once again at 13 to 18.