Your Child’s Vaccination Schedule

Each year, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes its list of recommended vaccines for children from birth through age 18. 

Birth to 6 Years


Hepatitis B, three doses – at birth, between ages 1-2 months, and between 6 and 18 months. Hepatitis B is an infectious disease caused by a virus that attacks the liver.


Rotavirus, two doses (or three, depending on the vaccine used) – at 2 and 4 months. Rotavirus is the leading cause of acute vomiting and severe diarrhea among children worldwide. 


Diphtheria, tetanus & acellular pertussis (Tdap), five doses – at 2, 4 and 6 months, between 15 and 18 months, and between 4-6 years. Diphtheria causes a thick covering in the back of the throat that can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure and even death. Tetanus (lockjaw) causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body, and can lead to locking of the jaw. Pertussis (whooping cough) is a highly contagious respiratory disease that causes uncontrollable, violent coughing.


Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib), three doses (or four, depending on vaccine used) – at 2 months, 4 months, and between 12 and 18 months. Hib is a dangerous bacterium that can lead to bacterial meningitis, which is an infection of the brain and spinal cord coverings. 


Pneumococcal conjugate, four doses – at 2, 4 and 6 months, and between 12 and 18 months. Pneumococcal disease is a bacterial infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae that can lead to blood infections, pneumonia and meningitis.


Inactivated poliovirus, four doses – at 2 and 4 months, between 6-18 months, and between 4-6 years. Polio is a contagious viral infection that can lead to paralysis or even death.


Influenza (flu shot), yearly for all children age 6 months and older.


Measles, mumps, rubella, two doses – between 12-15 months and 4-6 years. Complications from the measles virus can include ear infection, pneumonia, seizures, brain damage and death. Mumps can lead to deafness and meningitis. And rubella can cause a woman to miscarry or to have a child born with birth defects.


Varicella (chickenpox), two doses – between 12-15 months and 4-6 years. Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease. 


Hepatitis A, two doses – between 12-23 months depending on specifications of vaccine. Hepatitis A is a contagious infectious disease of the liver.


11 to 18 Years


Diphtheria, tetanus & acellular pertussis (Tdap), booster between 11-12 years.


Human Papillomavirus (HPV), three doses between 11-12 years. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that can cause serious health problems.


Meningococcal, a dose between 11-12 years and a booster at age 16. Meningococcal disease is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis, an infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord that is especially dangerous for teens.


Influenza (flu shots), yearly.


Mary Alice Cookson is associate editor of Boston Parents Paper. 


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14 Oct 2013

By Mary Alice Cookson