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Immunization Schedule, Children (cont.)

H Influenzae Type B (Hib) Vaccine

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is a serious disease caused by bacteria. It usually strikes children younger than 5 years of age. Hib disease is not the same as "the flu" (influenza; see below).

A child can get Hib disease by being around other children or adults who are asymptomatic (having no symptoms) carriers. The bacteria spread from person to person. Before the vaccine, Hib was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis among children younger than 5 years of age in the United States.

  • This vaccine should be given to children at age 2, 4, and 6 months of age. A fourth dose is commonly given at 12-15 months of age.
  • Generally children older than 5 years of age usually do not need Hib vaccine. Some older children and adults with special health conditions should get vaccinated.

Seasonal Flu (Influenza) Vaccine

This vaccine is indicated to prevent seasonal influenza in healthy children, adolescents, and adults. Flu vaccine elements often change each year, and the specific elements of the vaccine are decided by the U.S. Public Health Service often many months prior to manufacture. Typically, four virus strains are included in the formulation each year. The vaccine created represents the influenza virus strains likely to circulate during the upcoming flu season.

The flu vaccine is generally recommended yearly for all individuals 6 months of age or older.

Children younger than 9 years old who are given the influenza vaccine for the first time require a second shot one month after the first.

Flu vaccine is also available as a nasal spray (FluMist) for healthy children 2 years of age or older, adolescents, and adults 49 years of age or younger. FluMist generally provides better immunity than the vaccine administered by injection. Due to the risk of Reye syndrome, children who take aspirin should not receive the flu vaccine.

Polio Vaccine

Polio is a disease caused by a virus. It enters a child's body through the mouth. Sometimes it causes paralysis (inability to move arms or legs) and can lead to death.

Polio used to be very common in the United States. Before we had a vaccine against polio, epidemics paralyzed and killed thousands of people each year. The fact that it is nearly eradicated in much of the world is strong testimony to the value of vaccination.

  • All children should receive four doses of the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) injection.
  • Immunizations are given at age 2, 4, 6-18 months, and between 4-6 years.
  • The oral version of the vaccine is no longer available in the United States due to extremely rare side effects. In countries (for example, India, Afghanistan) where polio remains an active problem, the oral version may be used.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/10/2015

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