Updated Jan. 8, 2021
Recommended Immunizations for Babies
In early childhood, vaccines are particularly critical — they help protect babies and young children from a host of life-threatening illnesses when they’re most vulnerable.
New parents can consult the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) vaccination schedule to learn what shots and vaccines are recommended for children through age 18.
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Should My Child Be Vaccinated?
Parents who refuse or delay vaccines are placing their children and others in harm’s way. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) assures that vaccines given in combination — starting at birth — neither overwhelm nor compromise the child’s immune system.
Most children never experience side effects from getting vaccines. And if they do, they are mild, temporary, and not dangerous. Some children feel tenderness, redness, or swelling at the injection site, but this is rare. The benefit of protecting your child against preventable diseases should outweigh any minor reaction.
The required and life-saving vaccines your child needs are 90% to 99% effective. That’s why it’s important to talk with your pediatrician about an immunization schedule. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC strongly support following the existing guidelines to protect children, family members, and friends.
Know Your Vaccines
The following is an overview of important vaccines and what they protect against:
DTaP: Combines protection against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough)
Hepatitis A and B: Exposure to either virus can lead to organ infection or failure, blood disorders, and even cancers
Hib: Protects against Haemophilus influenzae type B, a bacteria that causes life-threatening meningitis in young children
Influenza: Protects against the flu virus, which can lead to pneumonia and even death
IPV: Protects against polio, which can cause disability, paralysis, or death
MMR: Combines protection against measles, mumps, and rubella
PCV: Known as the pneumococcal vaccine, it protects against life-threatening bacterial meningitis and pneumonia
Rotavirus: Protects against rotavirus infections, the leading cause of severe diarrhea in young children
Varicella: Protects against the chickenpox virus, which can cause a mild to life-threatening illness
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First-Year Vaccines: Immunization Schedule for Babies
Vaccines at birth
- First dose of hepatitis B*
Vaccines at 2 months
- First dose of DTaP
- First dose of Hib
- First dose of IPV
- First dose of PCV
- First dose of rotavirus
- Second dose of hepatitis B*
Vaccines at 4 months
- Second dose of DTaP
- Second dose of Hib
- Second dose of IPV
- Second dose of PCV
- Second dose of rotavirus
- Third dose of hepatitis B*
Vaccines at 6 months
- Third dose of DTaP
- Third dose of Hib
- Third dose of IPV
- Third dose of PCV
- Third dose of rotavirus
- Influenza (The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccination for children age 6 months and older. When children receive the vaccine for the first time, they are administered in two doses, with each shot separated by one month.)
- Fourth dose of hepatitis B*
*Note: The CDC requires three doses of hepatitis B immunization, which are typically administered during the first year of a baby’s life. Many pediatricians, however, administer four doses by including the hepatitis B shot as a part of a routine combination vaccine.
Vaccines at 12 months
- First dose of hepatitis A
Vaccines at 15 months
- Fourth dose of Hib
- Fourth dose of PCV
Your baby’s vaccination schedule will continue well beyond the first year. Talk to your doctor about vaccination specifics. And work with your child’s pediatrician to find out if any necessary vaccines were missed during the first year of life. For more information, contact UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
From nutrition to illnesses, from athletics to school, children will face many challenges growing up. Parents often will make important health care decisions for them. We hope to help guide both of you in that journey. UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh ranks consistently on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll. UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital is a longtime national leader for women and their newborns. We aim to provide the best care for your children, from birth to adulthood and beyond.