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A parent's guide to childhood vaccinations

young boy receives a vaccination shot to arm

According to a 2013 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 90 percent of all children who died from the flu that year were totally unvaccinated. It's for that reason and others that the CDC has outlined its guidelines for regular immunizations, which should occur from birth to age 6. The necessary vaccines are as follows:

Birth

  • Hepatitis B.

1 Months

  • Hepatitis B (HepB).

2 Months

  • Hepatitis B.
  • Rotavirus (RV).
  • Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP).
  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV).
  • Polio (IPV).

4 Months

  • DTAp.
  • PCV.
  • RV.
  • IPV.

6 Months

  • HepB.
  • PCV.
  • DTap.
  • RV.

12 Months

  • IPV.
  • PCV.
  • HepB.
  • Influenza.
  • Hepatitis A (HepA).
  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).
  • Varicella (Chickenpox).

15 Months

  • DTaP.
  • HepB.
  • HepA.
  • MMR.
  • PCV.
  • IPV.
  • Influenza.

18 Months

  • HepB.
  • MMR.
  • HepA.
  • Influenza.
  • DTaP.

19-23 Months

  • Influenza.
  • HepA.

2-3 Years

  • Influenza.

4-6 Years

  • Influenza.
  • IPV.
  • Varicella.
  • DTaP.
  • MMR.

It's also important that parents be able to recognize the side effects associated with these vaccinations. As the CDC explained, most of these accompanying issues are generally mild, but parents should be nonetheless aware to offer the best post-vaccination care and prevent complications. The most common side effects for each of the major vaccinations are:

DTaP

  • Redness around injection site.
  • Fever.
  • Mild soreness in extremity.

HepB

  • Limb soreness and redness.
  • Elevated temperature.

MMR

  • Mild rash.
  • Fever.
  • Gland swelling in cheeks or neck.

RV

  • Irritability in babies.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.

Influenza

  • Body aches.
  • Itching.
  • Fatigue.
  • Cough.
  • Soreness or redness around injection site.
  • Itchy eyes.
  • Headache.

Varicella

  • Mild rash.
  • Fever.
  • Muscle soreness.
Some shots do have inherent side effects, like coughs.
Some vaccines do have inherent side effects, like coughs.

Not every child will experience side effects, and some of these conditions may be more intense depending on the individual's unique background. Generally speaking, most of these side effects shouldn't last more than a month or so. If they do, or the child's condition suddenly worsens, it's important to seek urgent medical care as soon as possible.

Many parents struggle with where to take their young ones for shots. Oftentimes, doctor's offices can be overly busy, especially during the peak of cold and flu season. That's why you should take your child to the nearest CareWell Urgent Care Center. With teams of highly trained physicians at every facility, CareWell can provide many childhood vaccinations in a safe and timely manner.

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