What is immunization?

Immunization is a way to protect your child from getting a number of illnesses. Many of these illnesses are easily spread from child to child and can cause serious health problems. They can even cause death.

During their first 2 years of life, children should be given vaccines (medicines) to protect them from:

  • Diphtheria
  • Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib disease)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Mumps
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Pneumococcal disease
  • Rubeola (measles)
  • Polio
  • Rotavirus
  • Rubella (German measles)
  • Tetanus (lockjaw)
  • Varicella (Chickenpox)

These vaccines are very safe and have saved thousands of children from getting sick. For more information and a parent’s guide to Childhood Immunization, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

When should my child get immunized?

Children should get immunized during their first two years of life. Your child may need several doses of the vaccines to be fully protected. For example, healthcare providers recommend that children receive their first dose of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccination at 12 months of age or older and a second dose prior to elementary school entry (around 4 to 6 years of age). Children can get the vaccines at regularly scheduled well visits.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/01/2018.

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