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Vaccines prevent an estimated 4 million deaths each year. They contain dead or weakened antigens of various diseases, which prompt your body to develop antibodies that fight disease. The cells remain in your body to combat infection should you encounter the germ again in your lifetime.
What many don’t realize is that the benefits of being vaccinated can last a lifetime. They’re a key component of good health for all ages, protecting you and those around you by limiting — or in some cases stopping — the spread of very serious diseases.
While staying current on immunizations may only seem relevant for school-age kids, everyone should be sure they’re up to date. Read on for the recommended vaccinations by age, for infants, kids and adults alike.
Infants and Toddlers
If you’re a first-time parent, you may be surprised to learn that newborns usually get their first round of vaccinations (the Hepatitis B vaccine for example) before they leave the hospital and often in their first few hours of life. While watching your baby get shots can be tough, remember your baby’s undeveloped immune system needs all the help it can get.
A few vaccinations only require one dose. Others require additional doses be given at specific times throughout your child’s developmental years or on an annual basis. Some illnesses, such as influenza, may require vaccination each year for protection during the flu season. Other vaccines may be timed with your child’s entry into the school system where they’ll expose others — and be exposed — to harmful germs.
Your child’s pediatrician is always a great resource for helping you understand the recommended vaccines and keeping your child on schedule. The basic recommendations for your child may include:
At 2 Months
- DTaP (Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis)
- Hep B (Hepatitis B)
- Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine)
- IPV (Inactivated poliovirus vaccine)
- PCV13 (Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine)
- RV (Rotavirus vaccine)
At 4 Months
At 6 Months
- Hep B
At 12-15 Months
- MMR (Measles, mumps, and rubella)
- Chickenpox (varicella)
At 12–23 Months
- Hep A (Hepatitis A)
At 15–18 Months
Vaccinations for School-Age Years
Your back-to-school checklist should include vaccinations. Since pediatric offices become swamped in the weeks before school starts, be sure to schedule your school vaccines well enough in advance. During your child’s school years, the recommended vaccinations may include:
At 4–6 Years
At 11–12 Years
- HPV (human papillomavirus)
- Meningococcal conjugate
Vaccinations for Adolescents
- Meningococcal conjugate
- Meningococcal B vaccine (MenB)
Before teens go to college, they should be current with meningococcal conjugate, MenB, Tdap and HPV vaccines. Meningitis can spread quickly in close quarters, like a dorm, so please be sure to put this on your teen’s college “to-do” list.
Vaccinations for Adults
Even after the series of childhood and teen immunizations, adults aren’t necessarily off the hook. Vaccinations vary by age and circumstance. For example, if adults have a condition that compromises their immune system, they may need additional vaccinations or doses. They will also be encouraged to continue with annual vaccinations to protect against some specific illnesses, such as the flu.
Recommended vaccinations for adults may include:
- Hep A
- Hep B
- Pneumococcal 23 (PPSV23)
- Tdap or Td
Maximizing Whole Health for Children and Adults
Annual updates to immunization schedules for both children and adults offer guidance to health care providers with new recommendations, changes to existing recommendations or clarifications to assist with interpreting the schedule in specific circumstances. The schedules are reviewed by committees of experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
As of 2020, the recommended vaccine schedule for both children and adults has been:
- Polio (IPV)
- Hepatitis B
- Varicella (chickenpox)
- Hepatitis A
*Given in combination as DTaP
**Given in combination as MMR
In response to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, on November 20, 2020, Pfizer, a national biopharmaceutical company, requested emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA for their coronavirus vaccine. A biotechnology company, Moderna, followed suit with a highly effective vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccines became widely available to the public in 2021 and have successfully supported the slowing and weakening of the deadly illness. Adults and children ages 5 and up are still encouraged to get their COVID-19 vaccine series and available boosters.
Protect Your Whole Health
Take the first step toward disease prevention today. Learn more about primary care and schedule a visit with a trusted AdventHealth physician to make sure you’re up to date on your recommended vaccines. We want you to stay well in body, mind and spirit for life.