Immunizations are a safe way to protect infants and children from dangerous diseases.
What routine immunizations does my child need and what diseases are prevented?
- DTaP protects against diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw) and pertussis (whooping cough).
- IPV protects against polio.
- Hib protects against Haemophilus influenzae type b, which causes bacterial meningitis.
- PCV, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, protects against pneumococcal disease that can cause bacterial meningitis and blood infections.
- MMR protects against measles, mumps and rubella (German measles).
- Varicella vaccine protects against varicella (chickenpox).
- Hepatitis B vaccine protects against Hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis A vaccine protects against Hepatitis A.
- Influenza (flu) vaccine protects against seasonal flu virus.
- Rotavirus vaccine protects against rotavirus. (See below for details.)
- HPV vaccine, for ages 9-26 years, protects against human papillomavirus which can cause cervical cancer.
- Vaccine Requirements For Children Enrolled in Preschool Programs and in Schools (PDF)
- Common Misconceptions About Vaccination (CDC)
When should my child receive vaccines?
Babies should receive all of their early or basic immunizations before 2 years of age. Infants are more likely to have problems from diseases because they are so young. Vaccines are routinely given at birth, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 12 months, 15 months and 18 months of age. Many immunizations must be given more than once in order to provide protection. Additional boosters will be needed when a child reaches 4-6 years and 11-16 years old.
Rotavirus? What's that?
Rotavirus is a virus that causes severe diarrhea, often with vomiting, fever and dehydration. Almost all children in the United States are likely to be infected with rotavirus before their fifth birthday. A new vaccine helps prevent rotavirus. The vaccine is a liquid given by mouth, rather than by a shot. Three doses, given at 2, 4 and 6 months of age are needed to provide good protection.
What is HPV vaccine and who needs it?
The HPV vaccine is the first vaccine developed to prevent cervical cancer, precancerous genital lesions and genital warts due to human papillomavirus. HPV vaccine is recommended for 9 to 26 year olds and is administered in a series of three shots.
Should my child receive the influenza (flu) vaccine?
During the annual influenza season (October through March), all children 6 months to 18 years of age are recommended to receive influenza vaccine. Chronic health conditions that may place children at risk for influenza-related complications and/or hospitalizations include diabetes, asthma, heart disease, lung disease and kidney disease.
Who should not get vaccines?
Rarely vaccines cannot be given because an infant or child is allergic to a part of the vaccine and/or has had a very serious reaction to the vaccine. However, you should always ask your child's doctor or nurse about when vaccines should not be given.
Will my child have any reactions to the shots?
Ask your child's doctor or nurse what to expect after an immunization has been given. Some children will become cranky; have a low-grade fever; or be sore, red or swollen at the injection site. Giving acetaminophen if symptoms develop and every 4 hours afterward will help to reduce discomfort. Although very rare, some children may have a serious reaction which should be reported right away to your child's doctor. The reaction may include a fever over 103 F, crying for a long time, seizures, limpness or paleness.
Is there anything else I should know?
- It is important to keep a record of your child's immunizations. Make sure the record is updated by your child's doctor or nurse every time your child receives a shot.
- A student whose immunizations are not up-to-date or who has not provided proof of having received required immunizations will not be allowed to enter school or day care programs until proof has been provided.
Does the Department of Health offer immunizations?
The Anne Arundel County Department of Health provides immunizations at area health centers by appointment or through scheduled walk-in clinics for children who are eligible for the federal Vaccines for Children Program. Call the health center closest to you Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., for information. No fee will be charged, but donations up to $10 are appreciated. Do not forget to bring a copy of your child's immunization record with you.
The Vaccines for Children Program provides childhood vaccines free of charge to qualifying children under the age of 19 years old. If your child is enrolled in Medical Assistance, uninsured or has health insurance that does not pay for any vaccines, your child might be eligible for free vaccines.
- Glen Burnie Health Center, 416 A Street, S.W., Glen Burnie, MD 21061, 410-222-6633
- Parole Health Center, 1950 Drew Street, Annapolis, MD 21401, 410-222-7247
For more information, please call your child's doctor or nurse or the Department of Health Immunization Services Program at 410-222-4896.