A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Ask the expert: Why do kids need so many shots?

Mom-playing-with-son-box-I-MAC_4577Editor’s note: This post was updated June 2020 to reflect current data. 

Many parents ask this question because undeniably there are a lot of immunization shots.

Marshfield Clinic Health System follows the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, which fortunately allow many of these shots to be combined safely in one visit.

Compared to years ago, we started with three vaccines in the early 20th Century with pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus (These three combined in 1948 as DTP).

Today, we have 14 vaccines for children with Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, Hib, hepatitis B, varicella, hepatitis A, pneumococcal, influenza, and rotavirus (given combinations are DTaP and MMR).

More shots are given than even a few years ago because, as science advances, we are able to protect your child against more diseases than ever before.

Vaccine timeline for children (newborn to 6 years old)

Although there are now 14 vaccines, the ages your child can receive these vaccines differ. We recommend to follow and visit CDC and American Academy of pediatrics immunization schedule.

The schedule as follows:

  • Newborns – Hep B (1st dose)
  • 1-2 months – Hep B (2nd dose)
  • 2 months – Dtap (1st dose), HiB (1st dose), polio (1st dose); pneumococcal (1st dose) and rotavirus (2-dose series) vaccine
  • 4 months – Dtap (2nd dose), HiB (2nd dose), polio (2nd dose); pneumococcal (2nd dose) and rotavirus (2-dose series) vaccine.
  • 6 months – Dtap (3rd dose), HiB (3rd or 4th dose), polio (3rd dose); pneumococcal (3rd dose); rotavirus (needed if you decide 3-dose series) vaccine and Hep B (3rd dose)
  • Yearly Flu vaccine starting at 6 months of age.
  • 12-15 months – MMR (1st dose); Varicella (1st dose), DTap (4th dose), HiB (3rd or 4th dose); pneumococcal (4th dose); Hep A (2-dose series)
  • 18 months – Hep A (2-dose series if needed)
  • 4-5 years old – DTaP-IPV (5th dose) and MMR-Varicella (2nd dose)

Outbreaks can still occur

Even though some of the diseases we have vaccinated against for years are no longer common, they could return very easily if we stopped vaccinating.

It is not uncommon to have outbreaks of measles, whooping cough (pertussis), chickenpox and other diseases when vaccination rates drop.

These diseases may seem mild, but remember that before vaccine was available, about 4 million people got chickenpox each year in the U.S., over 10,500 people were hospitalized, and about 150 people died of this disease every year.

A persistent rumor that we hear is that some vaccines can cause autism.

This issue has been closely studied for years, and all the scientific studies and reviews have found no relationship between vaccines and autism.

Ask your pediatrician if there is any additional questions or concerns.

Dr. Uy is a pediatrician at Marshfield Clinic Chippewa Falls Center. She specializes in keeping children well, from birth to young adulthood. Our pediatricians have access to the most comprehensive children\\’s health services network in the region.

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