1 Year Old Shots: What You Should Know

Your 1-year-old is most likely starting to respond to simple requests, shaking their head no and waving goodbye. Other developmental milestones 1-year-olds may have reached include:

  • Acting shy with strangers
  • Playing peek-a-boo
  • Copying your gestures

This age is also a time for a well-baby visit and vaccinations. This article reviews which vaccines your 1-year-old will receive, how to comfort them during and after vaccinations, and how to ease mild side effects.

Pediatrician Applying Bandage

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1-Year-Old Vaccinations Schedule

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a schedule for vaccines to prevent diseases for all ages. Most likely, your 1-year-old has already received several vaccinations as part of this schedule.

Alternate Names for Vaccinations

Alternate names for vaccinations include:

  • Immunizations
  • Injection or shots 
  • Inoculation
  • Vaccines

The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend the following vaccinations to be given to children around 12-15 months old. They are often given at the 1-year wellness check.

Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib)

Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) is a bacteria. It is rare in the United States due to routine vaccination. However, it can be severe and can cause:

The fourth and final dose of the Hib vaccine is usually given between 12-15 months old. 

Hib Is Different Than Seasonal Influenza

Hib is often understandably confused with seasonal influenza (flu) because of the similarity in their names. However, these are two different diseases. Seasonal influenza is a virus, while Hib is a bacteria. 

Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV)

Pneumococcal disease is a bacterial infection that causes:

The PCV is part of a four-dose series. The last is given around 12 to 15 months old.

Hepatitis A (HepA)

The hepatitis A virus is a highly contagious disease that causes liver inflammation (swelling) and infection. Humans who are not vaccinated get it through close contact with an infected person or by eating contaminated food and drinks.

While hepatitis A is highly contagious, it is preventable through the hepatitis A vaccination (HAV) for children 1-year and older. 

There are two different hepatitis A vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for children:

  • Havrix, which was approved in 1995
  • Vaqta, which was approved in 1996

Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR)

The first dose of the MMR vaccine is given to children between 12-15 months old. It protects against the following diseases:

  • Measles: This is a very contagious virus that spreads through coughing and sneezing. Those with measles get a cough, red eyes, fever, and runny nose. A rash with tiny red spots develops starting around the head and spreads to the rest of the body. Before the measles vaccine was introduced in 1963, 3 to 4 million Americans were diagnosed with measles each year.
  • Mumps: This is a virus that causes fever, headache and muscle aches, decreased appetite, swollen glands under the ears, soreness in the jaw, and puffy cheeks. Most people recover from mumps in a couple of weeks. However, it can cause serious complications, including encephalitis (brain swelling), and deafness. Vaccines helped decrease mumps cases in the United States by more than 99%.
  • Rubella: This is a virus that is sometimes called the “German measles." Rubella can cause fevers, swollen glands, respiratory infections, and rashes.

Rubella in Pregnancy

It’s important for women to receive the rubella vaccination before becoming pregnant. Rubella in pregnant women can cause miscarriage or severe birth defects. 

Varicella

Varicella is a virus that is more commonly called chickenpox. It is a member of the herpes virus group. The first time a person is infected with varicella, it causes chickenpox. Once it’s in the body, it can reactivate later in life. This causes a painful rash called herpes zoster or shingles.

The first varicella vaccination is given at 12-15 months old, and the booster is due around 4-6 years old. Healthcare providers can give it a younger age as long as it has been three months since the last dose.

Influenza (Flu)

Influenza is a respiratory infection that most call the flu or seasonal flu. The first vaccination can begin after an infant is 6-months-old. Children younger than 9-years-old who are getting their flu shot for the first time usually receive two doses at least four weeks apart.

After the initial vaccination, the flu shot is due yearly during flu season, usually from October through May. It’s best to get vaccinated early in the season. The vaccine takes about two weeks to build immunity against the flu.

Injection or Nasal Spray?

The influenza vaccine is available as an injection (shot) or nasal spray. Nasal sprays are approved for children 2-years and older and may not be suitable for someone with underlying health conditions.

Side Effects

The most common side effect of vaccinations is a local reaction such as swelling, redness, or soreness at the shot site. Your child may also run a low-grade fever (100-102 degrees or lower).

Less common vaccination side effects are generally mild and include:

  • Chills
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

Most side effects begin within 24 hours and last one or two days. Delayed reactions such as fever and a rash can occur one to four weeks after the MMR and chickenpox shots. 

Rare Severe Reactions

Severe side effects such as allergic reactions are very rare. If allergic reactions occur, they usually start within 20 minutes to two hours. If you are concerned about rare side effects, talk to your pediatrician or healthcare provider before they give the vaccines.

What to Do If Your Baby Has Side Effects

Your 1-year-old may need a little extra love and care after their shots. It may be helpful to keep them busy with play or distraction. To help decrease mild reactions or side effects, you can try the following techniques: 

  • A cool cloth for local reactions (redness and swelling)
  • A cool sponge bath for low-grade fevers
  • Offer more to drink to keep them hydrated
  • Give Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Motrin/Advil (ibuprofen)

Motrin, Advil, and Tylenol are safe for a 1-year-old and can help reduce fever and discomfort. Children should not receive aspirin unless directed by their healthcare provider.

When to Contact the Pediatrician

If your 1-year-old has any of the following symptoms, contact their pediatrician or healthcare provider:

  • Temperature (fever) greater than 104 degrees
  • Redness larger than 1 inch or lasting longer than three days
  • Extreme fussiness for more than 24 hours
  • Severe vomiting or diarrhea

When to call 9-1-1

If you think your child is having a life-threatening emergency or any of the following rare reactions, call 9-1-1 immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Lethargy (not moving or very weak)
  • Not waking up
  • Seizures

Summary 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend a vaccination schedule for disease prevention. Six shots are usually given at the 1-year-old wellness check, including the haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib), pneumococcal conjugate (PCV), hepatitis A (HAV), influenza, MMR, and varicella vaccines.

Vaccination side effects are generally mild, and parents can usually treat them at home. If your child is experiencing more severe side effects, call their pediatrician or seek emergency care.

A Word From Verywell

While it can be stressful for your child to experience the discomfort of shots, vaccinations are essential to help keep them healthy. You can help reassure them with a calm, soothing voice, and a smile. It may also be helpful to bring their favorite toy or blanket to distract and comfort them during or after their appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How many shots are given at 12 months?

    There are usually six shots that cover eight diseases given at 12 months. If your child has already received the flu vaccination for that flu season, they would only need five shots. 

  • How can I help my 1-year-old after shots?

    Your 1-year-old may require a bit of extra affection as well as distraction. It is also helpful for them to drink plenty of fluids. You can use a cool cloth or lukewarm bath for redness at the shot site or a low-grade fever. You can also give Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Motrin/Advil (ibuprofen).

18 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Milestone checklist: your child at 1 year.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Recommended vaccinations for infants and children (birth through 6 years) parent-friendly version.

  3. Immunization Action Coalition. Ask the experts: haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Pneumococcal disease.

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hepatitis A vaccination.

  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. vaccine names.

  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Measles vaccination.

  8. National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. Mumps.

  9. National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. Rubella.

  10. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Varicella.

  11. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Chickenpox vaccination: what everyone should know.

  12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccines for flu (influenza).

  13. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Live attenuated influenza vaccine [LAIV] (The nasal spray flu vaccine).

  14. Seattle Children’s Hospital. Immunization reactions.

  15. Daley MF, O’Leary ST, Nyquist A, Cataldi JR. Immunization. In: Hay Jr. WW, Levin MJ, Abzug MJ, Bunik M. eds. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Pediatrics, 25e. McGraw Hill; 2020.

  16. Immunization Action Coalition. After the shots. Immunize.org.

  17. American Academy of Pediatrics. Ibuprofen dosing table for fever and pain. Healthychildren.org.

  18. St Louis Children’s Hospital. Acetaminophen (tylenol) dose table.

Additional Reading

By Brandi Jones, MSN-ED RN-BC
Brandi is a nurse and the owner of Brandi Jones LLC. She specializes in health and wellness writing including blogs, articles, and education.