Rx for Healthy Kids: Schedule Routine Immunizations

One of the most effective, lifelong protections families can provide is ensuring that children get all of their vaccinations on schedule.
Maintaining the recommended vaccination schedule is important, especially for younger children.
Maintaining the recommended vaccination schedule is important, especially for younger children. Unsplash

Keeping your child safe and healthy is a multifaceted priority for families, starting with the ride home from the hospital in a properly installed car seat. One of the most effective, lifelong protections families can provide is ensuring that children get all of their vaccinations on schedule.

“Maintaining the recommended vaccination schedule is important, especially for younger children,” says Children’s Hospital Los Angeles pediatrician Mona Patel, MD. “Vaccine-preventable illnesses can arise at any time, and younger children are particularly susceptible, especially babies under 6 months old.”

The U.S. childhood immunization schedule is set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), based on recommendations from a group of medical and public health experts. The schedule is approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

The recommended schedule is designed to give infants and toddlers a healthy start in life by providing immunity before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases like whooping cough (pertussis), chickenpox, polio, pneumonia, diphtheria and measles—all of which can cause serious illness and even death.

Maintaining the recommended vaccination schedule is important, especially for younger children.
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In this safer-at-home period, parents may be reluctant to stick to that schedule, but it’s more important than ever to stay on track with vaccinations in order to keep children safe from preventable diseases.  

“The timing is aligned with a child’s growing immune system to optimize their well-being,” says Dr. Patel, Vice President of Ambulatory Care Delivery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

For all children, maintain an up-to-date immunization record and bring it to doctor’s office visits. (Patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles can view their vaccination record using the MyChildren’sLA Patient Portal.) If you do miss a routine vaccination or fall behind schedule, talk to your child’s doctor. The CDC and AAP have developed “catch-up” schedules to keep your child on track.

In this safer-at-home period, parents may be reluctant to stick to that schedule, but it’s more important than ever to stay on track with vaccinations in order to keep children safe from preventable diseases.
In this safer-at-home period, parents may be reluctant to stick to that schedule, but it’s more important than ever to stay on track with vaccinations in order to keep children safe from preventable diseases. CDC PHIL

Birth to Age 2:

  • Chickenpox (varicella): between 12 and 15 months

  • Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP): four times — at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and between 15 and 18 months

  • Flu: Yearly by the end of October, if possible; beginning at 6 months

  • Haemophilus influenza (Hib), common upper respiratory infection that can cause meningitis: at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months (depending on brand) and between 12 and 15 months

  • Hepatitis A: between 12 and 23 months, with a second dose 6 months after the first one

  • Hepatitis B: three times — shortly after birth, between 1 to 2 months and between 6 and 18 months

  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR): between 12 and 15 months

  • Pneumococcal (PCV13): four times — at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and between 12 and 15 months

  • Polio (IPV): three times — 2 months, 4 months and between 6 and 18 months.

  • Rotavirus (RV): at 2 months and 4 months (Rotarix brand) or 2 months, 4 months and 6 months (RotaTeq brand)

  • SARS-COV2 (COVID-19): mRNA vaccine

    • Moderna: 6 months to 5 years: 2 times for most people dosed 4 to 8 weeks apart. For moderately or severely immunocompromised populations, 3 times with 4 weeks between each dose

    • Pfizer: 6 months to 4 years: 3 doses – 3 to 8 weeks in between dose 1 and 2; at least 8 weeks between dose 2 and 3

Maintaining the recommended vaccination schedule is important, especially for younger children.
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Ages 3 through 11:

  • Chickenpox: between 4 and 6 years

  • Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP): between 4 and 6 years

  • Flu: yearly by the end of October, if possible

  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR): between 4 and 6 years

  • Polio (IPV): between 4 and 6 years

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV): first, between 11 and 12 years, then a second dose 6 to 12 months after the initial dose

  • Meningococcal conjugate: between 11 and 12 years, then a booster at 16 years

  • Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap): a booster to the DTaP, between 11 and 12 years

  • Sars-COV2 (COVID-19): mRNA vaccine

    • Moderna: 6 to 11 years: 2 times for most people dosed 4 to 8 weeks apart. For moderately or severely immunocompromised populations, 3 times with 4 weeks between each dose

    • Pfizer: 5 to 11 years: 3 doses, with 3 to 8 weeks between doses 1 and 2; at least 8 weeks between doses 2 and 3. For moderately or severely immunocompromised populations, 4 times with 3 to 4 weeks between doses 1 through 3; and 3 months between 3rd and 4th dose

Maintaining the recommended vaccination schedule is important, especially for younger children.
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Ages 12 through 18:

  • Flu: yearly by the end of October, if possible

  • Meningococcal serogroup B: between 16 and 23 years

  • Sars-COV2 (COVID-19): mRNA vaccine

    • Moderna: 12 to 17 years: 2 times for most people dosed 4 to 8 weeks apart. For moderately or severely immunocompromised populations, 3 times with 4 weeks between each dose

    • Pfizer 12 to 17 years: 3 doses, with 3 to 8 weeks between doses 1 and 2; at least 8 weeks between doses 2 and 3. For moderately or severely immunocompromised populations, 5 times with 3 to 4 weeks between doses 1 through 3; and 3 months between 3rd and 4th dose; at least 4 months between doses 4 and 5 (HN/Newswise)

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