Childhood Immunization (Vaccination) Schedule

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Why do we need vaccines?

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None of us wants to see our children get sick. If we could, we would protect them from any illness, no matter how small -- even the sniffles.

Now suppose you could make your child safe from some of the most deadly diseases in history...And suppose that at the same time you could also help protect your neighbors' children and other children around the country from the same diseases...And finally, suppose you could actually help to rid the world of some of these diseases that have been crippling and killing children for centuries.

You can do all of these things with one of the easiest and yet most powerful health tools ever developed. You can make sure you immunize your children.

How do vaccines work?

When you receive a vaccine, it helps your body to create antibodies. Antibodies are the body's defenses that fight off any foreign substances (germs). Although your body can create antibodies on its own, many of the vaccine-preventable diseases cause severe illness and even death before enough antibodies are produced.

Immunization (vaccination) schedule

Vaccines work best when they are given at certain ages. For example, measles vaccine is not usually given until a child is at least 1 year old. If it is given earlier than that, it may not work as well. On the other hand, the DTaP vaccine should be given over a period of time in a series of properly spaced doses. More information about the specific diseases your child is vaccinated against is listed later in this article.

Following is a description of the routine childhood immunization schedule. It is published each year by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/10/2014

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Childhood Vaccination Schedule - Experience Question: Please share your child's experience with vaccinations.

Chickenpox Vaccine for My Child?

Even if chickenpox doesn't cause lasting problems in most people, the condition is far from harmless for some. It can lead to serious illness in adults, very young infants, and those whose immune systems are suppressed. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), before the advent of the chickenpox vaccine, about 11,000 people were hospitalized each year and about 100 deaths occurred each year in the U.S. as a result of infection with the chickenpox virus (varicella-zoster virus, or VZV).