What are vaccines?
Vaccines are used to boost the immune system. They help
the body fight off certain serious infections.
How do I know what vaccines my baby needs?
A schedule for vaccinations by age is published
by the US government. It comes from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC
(http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules).
Your health care team is very familiar with
this schedule.

My baby was premature or low birth weight.
Should the baby be vaccinated?
Preterm babies are at a higher risk for
complications from infections. If your
baby is medically stable, he or she should
be vaccinated on schedule based on date
of birth. The American Academy of Pediatrics
(AAP) recommends all routine vaccines for
premature or low-birth-weight babies.

What vaccines are needed at birth?
For the first few weeks of life, babies have some
natural protection from certain infections. This protection
is passed from mother to child before birth.
However, many mothers have not been vaccinated against
a liver infection called hepatitis B. For that reason, the CDC
recommends that all babies receive a hepatitis B vaccination
before leaving the hospital.

What vaccines are needed at 1 month of age?
Many vaccines need to be given more than once for maximum protection against disease. The
vaccine for hepatitis B is given 3 times: at birth, between 1 and 2 months of age, and between
6 and 18 months of age. No other vaccinesWhat vaccines are needed at 2 months of age?
The CDC recommends that the first dose of 5 additional vaccines be
given at 2 months of age. These vaccines help protect against the
following diseases:
Rotavirus
• Causes diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and dehydration
Diptheria, tetanus, and pertussis
• Diptheria causes a thick coating to form in the back of the
throat. This coating can lead to problems breathing and put
extra strain on the heart and may lead to death
• Tetanus is also called lockjaw. It causes painful muscle
stiffness throughout the body and may lead to death
• Pertussis is also called whooping cough. It causes severe
coughing, which can lead to problems breathing and sleeping are needed at 1 month of age.

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
• Hib infections are a group of diseases caused by bacteria.
These infections can include meningitis, epiglottitis,
pneumonia, and ear infections
• Hib is completely different from the virus that is commonly
called “influenza” or “the flu”
Pneumococcal disease
• There are more than 90 types of pneumococcal bacteria. The
vaccine protects against 13 of the most serious types
• Some pneumococcal bacteria can cause pneumonia, blood
infections, or meningitis

Polio
• Polio is a virus that affects the nerves. It can cause partial or full paralysis
• Because of vaccination, there has not been a case of polio in the US since 1979. However, polio still
exists in other parts of the world, so babies still need to be vaccinated

Are there any other vaccines that my baby might need?
A few babies with very specific medical conditions may need a vaccine against meningococcal bacteria. These
bacteria can cause meningitis and sepsis. When needed, the first dose of vaccine is given at 6 to 8 weeks.
What if I still have questions?
Talk to the health care team. They can answer any questions you have about your baby.

 

Glossary
Dehydration – not enough water
in the body
Epiglottitis – swelling of the
epiglottis, a flap of tissue that
stops food or fluid from entering
the lungs when swallowing
Meningitis – inflammation and
swelling of the tissues that cover
the brain and spinal cord
Paralysis – loss of the ability
to move
Pneumonia – a serious lung
infection
Sepsis – a serious reaction to
an infection that can affect the
entire body

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