Vaccines and Immunizations
Children’s immune systems are not fully developed until they are about 2 years old, which is why it is so important to get your child vaccinated at the right time. Without the proper vaccinations, you and your family may be at risk for getting a serious illness or potentially life-threatening disease that could have been prevented.
FamilyCare of Kent nurse practitioners follow the CDC-recommended immunization schedule. It is arranged by vaccine, with age-specific guidelines for each.
Recommended Immunization Schedule for Children & Adults
Infants should receive the first dose of the hepatitis B vaccine at birth, followed by 2 booster shots around 1-2 months and 6-18 months. Three doses of the hepatitis B vaccine may be recommended for unvaccinated adults.
There are two versions of this immunization. RV1 (Rotarix) requires 2 doses at 2 months and 4 months old, while RV5 (RotaTeq) requires a third dose at 6 months old.
These vaccines are typically given as a combination shot in a series of 5 boosters: 3 boosters given at 2, 4, and 6 months old; a fourth booster given between 15 and 18 months old, and a fifth booster given again between 4 and 6 years of age.
Children younger than 5 years of age are at greatest risk for Hib disease. There are several Hib vaccines. With one of them the 6-month dose is not needed. Hib is administered in 3 or 4 doses at 2 months, 4 months, (6 months), and 12-15 months. The Hib vaccine may also be needed for adults if not received in childhood.
This vaccine is administered in 4 doses: at ages 2, 4, and 6 months, and at 12-15 months. A pneumococcal booster may be recommended for some adults over 18 and all adults over 65.
The polio vaccine is administered in 4 doses: at 2 months, 4 months, 6-18 months, and 4-6 years of age. An additional dose may be recommended for adults traveling to certain countries.
The flu shot can be given annually to kids as young as 6 months.
The MMR vaccine is given in two doses: the first at 12 to 15 months old, the second at 4 to 6 years old. Any infants aged 6-11 months traveling abroad should receive one dose of the vaccine prior to travel, followed by the normal 2-dose vaccine. The CDC recommends one or two MMR shots for adults between 18 and 55 if they were not vaccinated as children.
The chicken pox vaccine can be given to kids who are 12 to 15 months and again at 4 to 6 years old. If not vaccinated as a child, an adult should receive two doses of the varicella vaccine during their life.
Two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine are needed for optimal protection, ideally, before the child’s 2nd birthday. The first dose should be given between 12-15 months of age, and the second dose should be given 6 to 18 months later. Adults may need two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine if not vaccinated as a child.
This vaccine should be administered in two doses, the first between 11- 12 years old, and a booster dose at 16 years old. The meningococcal vaccine may also be recommended for adults over 18. People who live in college dorms or military barracks are at high risk.
The CDC recommends this HPV vaccine for boys AND girls who are 11 years or older. It is given as a series of three doses throughout the year. The second dose should be administered 1 to 2 months after the first dose and the third dose at least 16 weeks after the second dose.
For adults who were not vaccinated as children, the HPV vaccine should be given in three doses to women 19 to 26 years old and up to six doses for men of the same age.
All adolescents 11 to 12 years old should receive one dose of Tdap vaccine. Adults should receive one dose of Tdap at 19-21 years old, followed by a Td booster every 10 years.
The shingles vaccine is for older adults. A single dose is needed for those who are 60 or older.
For more information or updates, check out http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/
Who Makes the Immunization Schedule?
The recommended immunization schedule is made by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Three times a year, a group of vaccine experts, scientists, doctors, and public health professionals come together to discuss vaccines and immunizations for children, adolescents, and adults. When creating their recommendation for each vaccine and age group, the ACIP considers:
- Safety and effectiveness of the vaccine for specific ages
- Severity of the disease prevented by the vaccine
- Incidence of the disease without the vaccine
- Vaccine’s ability to boost immunity to the disease
In addition to the CDC approval, the recommendations of the ACIP are also approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), American College of Physicians (ACP), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM).
FamilyCare of Kent is 100% Pro-Vaccine
Diseases like measles, mumps, chickenpox, whooping cough, polio, and rubella are spread through air, causing serious problems like pneumonia, meningitis, deafness, paralysis, and death. These diseases can be prevented by vaccinating your child. We strongly encourage parents to give their children ALL recommended vaccines.
FamilyCare of Kent is here to answer your questions regarding the safety or side effects of vaccines, or the immunization schedule above. If you or your child needs to catch up on vaccines, we’ll be happy to get you up to date.
For an appointment, call us or submit an online appointment request form.