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Immunization Schedule, Children (cont.)

H Influenzae Type B (Hib) Vaccine

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is a type of bacteria that can cause devastating illnesses such as meningitis, bone and joint infections, and pneumonia. It usually strikes children younger than 5 years of age. Hib does not cause the flu; the influenza virus is responsible for this seasonal illness (see below).

Hib disease is contagious from person to person via respiratory droplets expelled during sneezing and coughing. 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. There are several combination vaccine products that may be used and eliminate the need for the fourth injection.
  • Children older than 5 years of age usually do not need Hib vaccine since the likelihood of disease in older children is very remote. However, some older children and adults with special health conditions (immune compromised) should be vaccinated.

Seasonal Flu (Influenza) Vaccine

This vaccine is indicated to prevent seasonal influenza in healthy children, adolescents, and adults. Flu vaccine contents often change each year, and the contents of the vaccine are decided by the U.S. Public Health Service. Typically, four virus strains are included in the formulation each year. These strains are chosen to represent the influenza virus strains likely to circulate during the upcoming flu season.

The flu vaccine is recommended annually for all individuals 6 months of age and older. Infants, elderly individuals, and those of any age with certain chronic conditions (for example, asthma, COPD, diabetes) are at high risk for severe illness should they contract influenza.

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

Flu vaccine is also available as a nasal spray (FluMist) for healthy children 2 years of age or older and adults younger than 50 years of age. Children 2-8 years old who have not received the flu vaccine as a nasal spray before require two doses about one month apart. Individuals with a history of severe egg protein sensitivity should speak with their doctor prior to receiving vaccination against influenza.

Polio Vaccine

Polio is a disease caused by a virus causing primary symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. It enters a child's body through the mouth. About 1%-3% of individuals who contract polio may experience permanent paralysis of the extremities and, in some individuals, paralysis of the muscles necessary for breathing. Prior to the development of ventilators (breathing machines), those with such paralysis either spent their life in an iron lung or suffocated.

Polio used to be very common in the United States. It paralyzed and killed thousands of people a year in epidemics before we had a vaccine to prevent it.

  • 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 of age. The previous oral polio vaccine (OPV) is no long available in the United States due to the very rare risk of vaccine-caused polio disease.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/29/2016

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