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Immunization Schedule, Children (cont.)

Hepatitis B Vaccine

Hepatitis B is a vaccine-preventable disease that can lead to chronic liver disease and liver cancer. The infection is spread through contact with blood and body fluids of an infected person.

  • Infants should receive the first dose at birth. The immunization schedule encourages the use of hepatitis B vaccine for all infants before hospital discharge. The second and third doses are usually given at 1-4 months and at 6-18 months of age. Specific recommendations exist for infants born to mothers who are infected with hepatitis B. These infants are at high risk for disease unless a different dosage schedule is followed.
  • Unimmunized children younger than 18 years old may begin the series at any age.
  • A combination vaccine that protects infants against five different diseases has been approved by the FDA. That means babies may get six fewer shots during their first few months of life. The combination vaccine (Pediarix) contains hepatitis B vaccine along with DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis vaccine) and inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV). Pediarix is recommended to be given as a three-dose primary series to infants at about 2, 4, and 6 months of age. A booster is administered between 15-18 months of age.

Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis Vaccine

This combination vaccine (DTaP) is composed of vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw), and pertussis (whooping cough). The use of the acellular pertussis (aP) vaccine is now recommended because it is associated with fewer side effects compared to the previous, less refined vaccine.

  • This vaccine is usually given at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. A fourth dose is usually given between 15-18 months of age. A final (fifth) vaccination is administered between 4-6 years of age. A combination DTaP and IPV (see below) vaccine (Kinrix) may be used for the final vaccination.
  • An adolescent preparation of the tetanus, reduced diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine is recommended for children 11-12 years of age.
  • Subsequent booster shots of tetanus and diphtheria (Td) are recommended every 10 years.
  • Some children may have a fever, pain, and swelling at the injection site after this vaccine. To reduce this discomfort, you may give your child an aspirin-free pain reliever.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/29/2016

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