What Baby Shots Does My Child Need?

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Your baby’s vaccination schedule may look complicated at first glance. There are several vaccines recommended for infants and young children. These vaccines are an important way for parents to keep their babies safe and healthy. 

This article will describe the vaccines recommended for children from birth to 4 years old. It will also cover the diseases that these vaccines protect against. 

Overview of Vaccines

The recommended immunization schedule for babies and children includes the following vaccines:


Hepatitis B

The hepatitis B vaccine series includes three shots that span from birth to 18 months old. This vaccine is recommended at birth because hepatitis B can be passed from a mother to her baby during childbirth. 

The hepatitis B vaccine protects against the virus hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is a serious chronic liver disease that can lead to liver damage and liver cancer. Hepatitis B does not often cause symptoms, so it is possible to become infected without knowing it. 

Hepatitis B can be spread through contact with blood and from childbirth, open cuts, sharing toothbrushes, or chewing food for your child. Possible side effects of the hepatitis B vaccine include a low fever of less than 101 degrees Fahrenheit and a sore arm after the shot. 

Rotavirus

The rotavirus vaccine is available as oral drops and in two-dose or three-dose schedules. This vaccine protects against rotavirus, a gastrointestinal virus that causes diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. This virus is most common in babies and children. It can be dangerous because it often leads to dehydration. 

Rotavirus can be spread through the fecal-oral route. This means that individuals with rotavirus shed the virus in their feces, and when the virus particles enter another individual’s mouth, they can become sick. Children may be more at risk because they often place their hands in their mouths. Possible side effects of the rotavirus vaccine are rare and may include fussiness, diarrhea, and vomiting. 

Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP)

The DTaP vaccine has a six-dose schedule and is recommended at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15–18 months, 4–6 years, and 11– 12 years. This vaccine protects the three diseases diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. 

Diphtheria is an infection that causes a sore throat, fever, and chills. It can also lead to a thick coating over the back of the throat that makes it difficult to breathe and swallow. Diphtheria is very serious, and it’s estimated that every 1 in 5 children with the disease dies from it. It can spread when a person with the infection coughs or sneezes.

Tetanus is a serious disease that is caused by a toxin made by bacteria. It causes painful muscle contractions, lockjaw, difficulty swallowing, seizures, headache, fever, and changes in blood pressure. Tetanus cannot be spread from person to person. The bacteria that cause tetanus can be found in soil, dust, and manure, and enter the body through an open cut or sore. 

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a serious respiratory infection that causes severe coughing fits. It is especially dangerous for babies and young children. Early symptoms include a runny nose and a mild cough. They can then progress to coughing fits, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and stopping breathing. Pertussis spreads through the air when a person with the infection coughs or sneezes. 

Most children do not experience side effects with the DTaP vaccine, but possible side effects include redness or pain at the injection site, fever, and vomiting. 

Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib)

The Hib vaccine schedule includes four doses given at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 12–15 months. The Hib vaccine protects against Haemophilus influenzae type b infection that can lead to serious illness. Babies and children are most at risk of becoming sick from this bacterium and developing lifelong complications. 

The most common type of Hib disease is meningitis, an infection that affects the tissues surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Possible symptoms include a high fever, stiff neck, confusion, sensitivity to light, and an inability to eat or drink. Side effects of the vaccine are uncommon and may include fever or redness, swelling, and pain at the injection site.

Pneumococcal (PCV13)

The pneumococcal vaccine protects against pneumococcal disease and includes four doses given at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 12–15 months. 

Pneumococcal disease causes infections in the lungs, ears, blood, and brain and includes pneumonia and pneumococcal meningitis. These illnesses are caused by a bacterium called pneumococcus and can range in severity from mild to deadly. 

Most children will not experience side effects from the vaccine, but possible side effects include fussiness, fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, chills, headache, and soreness or redness at the injection site. 

Polio (IPV)

The polio vaccine is a four-dose vaccine given at 2 months, 4 months, 6–18 months, and 4–6 years. It protects against polio, a serious disease that can lead to paralysis. The virus affects the spinal cord and attacks the nervous system. Polio is very contagious and is spread through both respiratory droplets and particles in the stool. Side effects of the vaccine are not common and may include redness and soreness at the injection site. 

Influenza (Flu)

The flu shot is an annual vaccine that is recommended for babies 6 months and older. It reduces the risk of becoming sick with the flu (influenza) and requiring hospitalization. Your primary healthcare provider or pediatrician may recommend two doses when your baby first receives this vaccine. 

Because the flu virus is constantly changing, the flu shot changes each year as well. Its protection wears off over time, so an annual dose is recommended. Possible symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, sore throat, cough, runny nose, headache, body aches, fatigue, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

Possible side effects of the flu shot include fever, headache, muscle aches, nausea, and soreness or redness at the injection site. 

Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. It requires two doses at 12–15 months and 4–6 years old. 

Measles is a serious disease that causes a fever, rash, cough, runny nose, diarrhea, and ear infection. It may also lead to pneumonia, brain damage, deafness, and death. It is very contagious and spread through respiratory droplets. 

Mumps is also a serious disease that causes a swollen jaw, puffy cheeks, fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, loss of appetite, and swollen glands. Mumps is usually a mild disease, but it can lead to meningitis, deafness, encephalitis, orchitis (inflammation of a testicle), and oophoritis (inflammation of an ovary). 

Rubella, also known as German measles, is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. Possible symptoms include a rash, fever, swollen glands, cough, runny nose, and achy joints. 

Possible side effects of the MMR vaccine include fever, mild rash, stiff joints, and redness or soreness at the injection site. 

There is no link between the MMR vaccine and autism. 

Varicella (Chickenpox)

The chickenpox vaccine is available as a two-dose vaccine given at 12–15 months and 4 to 6 years old. It protects against chickenpox, a disease that causes an itchy rash of blisters all over the body. Chickenpox can lead to serious complications and may be life-threatening in babies. It is very contagious and spread through respiratory droplets. 

Possible side effects of the chickenpox vaccine include fever, mild rash, stiff joints, and pain or redness at the injection site. 

Hepatitis A 

The hepatitis A vaccine is a two-dose vaccine that is recommended at 12–23 months old and six months after the first dose. It protects against hepatitis A, a serious liver disease. Children under 6 years old usually do not become ill from hepatitis A but possible symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, stomach pain, vomiting, dark urine, and jaundice. Hepatitis A is spread through the stool of an infected person. 

Possible side effects of the hepatitis A vaccine are soreness at the injection site, headache, fatigue, fever, and loss of appetite. 

Baby Vaccines Schedule

The vaccine schedule for infants and young children covers the ages of birth to 4 years. If your child has an underlying condition or is behind on their vaccine schedule, they may require their own unique vaccine schedule based on their individual needs. 

Birth

The first dose of the hepatitis B vaccine is recommended at birth. 

Baby Vaccine Schedule Birth to 2 months

Verywell / Zack Angeline

1–2 Months

Vaccines recommended for children ages 1–2 months include:

  • Second dose of hepatitis B at 1 –2 months old
  • First dose of rotavirus at 2 months old
  • First dose of DTaP at 2 months old
  • First dose of Hib at 2 months old
  • First dose of pneumococcal at 2 months old
  • First dose of polio at 2 months old

3–6 Months 

Vaccines recommended for children ages 3–6 months include:

  • Second dose of rotavirus at 4 months old
  • Second dose of DTaP at 4 months old
  • Second dose of Hib at 4 months old
  • Second dose of pneumococcal at 4 months old
  • Second dose of polio at 4 months old
Baby Vaccine Schedule 3-6 months

Verywell / Zack Angeline

6 Months to a Year 

Vaccines recommended for children ages 6–12 months include:

  • Third dose of DTaP at 6 months old
  • Third dose of Hib at 6 months old
  • Third dose of pneumococcal at 6 months old
  • Annual flu shot starting at 6 months old
Baby Vaccine Schedule 6 months - 1 year

Verywell / Zack Angeline

1–2 Years Old 

Vaccines recommended for children ages 1–2 years include:

  • Fourth dose of DTap at 15–18 months old
  • Fourth dose of Hib at 12–15 months old
  • Fourth dose of pneumococcal at 12–15 months old
  • First dose of MMR at 12–15 months old
  • First dose of chickenpox at 12–15 months old
  • First dose of hepatitis A at 12–23 months old
  • Third dose of hepatitis B at 6–18 months old
  • Third dose of polio at 6–18 months old
Baby Vaccine Schedule 1 - 2 years old

Verywell / Zack Angeline

2–4 Years Old 

Vaccines recommended for children ages 2–4 years include:

  • Fifth dose of DTap at 4–6 years old
  • Fourth dose of polio at 4–6 years old
  • Second dose of MMR at 4–6 years old
  • Second dose of chickenpox at 4–6 years old
  • Second dose of hepatitis A at 6 months after the first dose
Baby Vaccine Schedule 2 - 4 years old

Verywell / Zack Angeline

What Are the Side Effects of Vaccines?

It is possible for any vaccine to cause side effects. Common side effects include a mild fever and pain or redness at the injection site. Most babies and children experience only mild side effects, if any.

Possible vaccine side effects include:

  • Fever
  • Soreness or redness at the injection site
  • Swelling 
  • Fussiness
  • Fatigue 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Vomiting 
  • Mild diarrhea 
  • Headache
  • Chills 

Serious side effects are rare and must be treated right away. Seek emergency medical care if your child develops any of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • High fever over 105 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Nonstop crying for over three hours 

Summary 

Vaccines help protect your child against serious diseases. The vaccine schedule for infants and young children covers the ages of birth to 4 years old, and the recommended vaccines include DTaP, Pneumococcal, Polio, MMR, chickenpox and more. Most children experience little to no side effects from vaccines.

A Word from Verywell 

Vaccines are lifesaving for children and their families. It is normal to become overwhelmed when trying to learn about your baby’s vaccines schedule. It may be helpful to remember that your child’s healthcare provider is always available to explain which vaccines your child needs and why. 

If you feel hesitant to vaccinate your child, schedule some time to talk with your healthcare provider or pediatrician. They know your child and their health and will be able to discuss your concerns and fears. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When can you take off the bandages after baby shots?

    Your baby’s bandages will likely fall off on their own. If the bandages are still present after two days, it’s OK to gently remove them. You may want to do this in the bath because the water will help to loosen them from your little one’s skin. 

  • How much Tylenol do you give a 4-month-old baby after shots?

    Giving your child Tylenol (acetaminophen) after their shots may help to relieve side effects like pain or a fever. The right dose for your child is based on their weight. Talk with your doctor when your child receives their shots and ask about dosing guidelines.

  • When do babies get the COVID-19 vaccine?

    At this time, babies are not eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Talk with your pediatrician about your child’s vaccine schedule and when the COVID-19 vaccine may be available to babies and toddlers. 

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5 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. American Academy of Pediatrics. Recommended immunization schedules. Updated February 2, 2021.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diseases and the vaccines that prevent them. Updated August 5, 2019. 

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diphtheria vaccines for children. Updated August 2, 2019.

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Birth-18 years immunization schedule. Updated February 12, 2021.

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Possible side effects from vaccines. Updated April 2, 2020.