Vaccinations: Which Ones Are Necessary and Which Ones Aren’t?

vaccinationsThe State of Illinois has several immunizations that are mandatory.  The Diphtheria, Tetanus and Acellular Pertussis (DTAP); the Hemophilus Influenza B (Hib); Hepatitis B (Hep B); Injectible polio (IPV); Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR); and the Chicken Pox (Varivax) are needed to attend school.

The DTAP is given in a series of five starting at 2 months old.  Then boosters are given at 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months and 4-6 years old.  The IPV is given in a series of four.  It also starts at 2 months with boosters usually given at 4 months, 6 months and 4-6 years old.  The Hib is a series of of 4, starting at 2 months.  The boosters are given at 4 months, 6 months and 12-15 months old.  The Hep B can be started the first day of life and is usually finished in a three dose series at 2 months, 4 months and 6 months. MMR is a two dose series.  The first dose is given at 12-15 months with a booster given at 4-6 years old.  Varivax is usually given in conjunction with MMR at 12-15 months old and 4-6 years old.

Prevnar and Rotarix are two common immunizations that are part of the routine well-checks that are not mandatory according to the State of Illinois.  Prevnar is a series of four starting at 2 months with boosters at 4 months, 6 months and 12 months.  Prevnar is for strep pneumonia which causes ear infections, pneumonia which causes ear infections, pneumonia and meningitis.  Rotarix is a series of two given at two and four months old for rotovirus.  Rotovirus is the most common gastrointestinal illness seen in infants and small children that causes hospitalization for dehydration.

All of the mandatory vaccines have been around for at least 20 years.  They all have a proven track record and are very good at preventing their respective diseases.  In the interests of time and space a detailed discussion of the negative press associated with vaccines in the past 15 years can not be undertaken in this blog.

There are other vaccines that are recommended but not mandatory.  Hepatitis A (Hep A) is a two shot series, with the second coming 6-18 months after the first.  Hep A is routinely given between 1 and 2 years old.  There are also vaccines recommended for meningitis.  Menveo can be given in the Junior High years with a follow up booster coming 4 years later.  Gardasil is a vaccine routinely recommended for boys and girls over the age of 9 years.  Gardasil is a series of 3 with the second given 2 months after the first and the 3rd dose given 6 months after the first.

For any questions on vaccines, or if an alternate schedule is needed for someone who is behind on their immunizations, either call the office or bring it up at your next Well Child Check.