Are Your Child's Vaccinations Up to Date?

Vaccinations have made devastating diseases like polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, mumps , and tetanus extremely rare in children. Vaccinations are so powerful that they’ve even wiped out the terrible disease known as smallpox so it only exists in laboratories.

At Penguin Pediatrics, board-certified pediatrician Umesh Kodu, MD provides vaccinations as part of a through preventive medicine approach. Here’s the schedule he recommends for vaccinations. 

If you’re not sure where your child stands in terms of vaccines, make an appointment to have their medical history reviewed and to bring them up to date.

First of all – why should I care about my child’s vaccines?

Many highly-contagious diseases can wreak havoc on your child’s health and lead to long-term disability and even death. Vaccines help you become immune to a disease, meaning you can be exposed to it without becoming infected.

When a person receives a vaccine, it stimulates their immune system to build antibodies that protect them from the effects of the disease. Antibodies are your body’s way of fighting off infection. 

Vaccination schedules vary according to the makeup of a virus and its ability to morph into new forms. Vaccines effects can wear off over time, so boosters of certain vaccines are required sometimes, too.

Just because your child received a vaccine early on doesn’t mean they’re necessarily immune forever. Many vaccines need several doses to provide full immunity.

Secondly – what is the schedule?

Whenever your child is due to receive vaccinations, Dr. Kodu reviews what they are and what they’re for. You’ll receive pamphlets that explain this information in detail.

At birth: Before leaving the hospital or birthing center, your baby receives a vaccine for Hepatitis B. This is the first of three doses required. Hepatitis B can cause severe complications in the liver that may lead to a lifetime of problems.

1-2 months: At your baby’s first few wellness visits, they’ll receive the second dose of the hepatitis B vaccine. They also should get diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (DTaP), haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), polio, pneumococcal (PCV), and rotavirus.

4 Months: This wellness visit continues to monitor your baby’s growth and development. They receive a second dose of DTaP, Hib, Polio, PCV, and rotavirus as well as the third and final dose of hepatitis B.

6 Months: The 6-month mark is where your child gets the third dose of DTap, Hib, polio, PCV, and rotavirus.

7-11 Months: This is a time to make sure your child is current on all vaccines given from birth to 6 months. Dr. Kodu can review their medical records to make sure your child is protected.

1-2 years old: By age 2, your child should have received vaccines to protect them against 14 diseases. 

Over the course of this year, your child gets immunizations for:

Hepatitis A (first dose; second dose is administered 6-18 months later)

4-6 years old: Your child should have an annual check-up with Dr. Kodu. Over the course of these two years, your child should get a booster for DTaP, polio, MMR, and chickenpox.

Preteens: Preteens benefit from vaccines for meningococcal conjugate (meningitis) and human papillomavirus (HPV), as well as a TDaP booster.

Teens: Once your child is a teen, they should be up to date with all their vaccines and boosters that last into adulthood. The only vaccines recommended at this time are those that they missed as a child or ones that protect them if they’re traveling overseas.

Does my child need a flu vaccine?

When your child is 6 months old, they’re eligible for their first flu vaccine. Getting a flu vaccine is smart, as children tend to have more vulnerability to flu complications that can make them very sick with the virus. Because the flu viruses change from year to year, keep your child’s protection current with annual shots. 

If your child is due for vaccinations, or you’re just not sure where they stand, make an appointment at Penguin Pediatrics for a review and to bring them up to date. We have offices in Stone Ridge and Ashburn, Virginia.

And if you have questions about vaccinations and their efficacy and safety, don’t hesitate to ask. Don’t let a lack of knowledge or fear keep you from protecting your child.

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