Q. It seems that every time I take my child to the pediatrician, there is another vaccination they need. Will you explain which vaccinations are required and when (at what age), as well as which vaccinations are recommended (as opposed to required), and at what age they should be given?
A. During infancy, your child should receive the pneumococcal meningitis, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP), polio, haemophilus influenzae (Hib), Hepatitis B, and rotavirus immunizations. Between twelve and eighteen months, the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), varicella (chicken pox), and Hepatitis A vaccines should be given. Around kindergarten, your child will need several boosters. As a teenager the MCV4 (another strain of meningitis), additional boosters and possibly a new vaccine against human papilloma virus are recommended. Routine immunization has made these diseases practically non-existent in the United States; thus, many parents question their need. After personally seeing polio and meningitis destroy many lives in developing countries, I am grateful for these vaccinations and look forward to the day when children worldwide are so protected.
Dodd Shumate, M.D.
Beacon Health Alliance, a Memorial