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Vaccine Schedule for Children: What to Know

Key Takeaways

  • Vaccines protect children from harmful diseases by helping their immune systems fight infections. While there are some exceptions, almost all children should follow the recommended vaccine schedule outlined here unless instructed by the child’s healthcare team. 

Vaccines protect children from harmful diseases by helping their immune systems fight infections. Most kids can follow the child and adolescent immunization schedule from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Here is the schedule for recommended immunizations and vaccination schedules by the CDC for vaccine-preventable diseases, classified by age group.

At Birth

Hepatitis B: Initial vaccination with the first dose is usually given within 24 hours of birth but it may be given later to low birth weight babies (birth weight less than 2,000 grams or 2 kilograms). Infants weighing less than 2 kilograms (kg) at birth can get the first dose of hepatitis B vaccine at 1 month of age or at hospital discharge (whichever is earlier) even if weight is still less than 2 kg. Learn about hepatitis in children.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV): The only RSV vaccine the CDC recommends for pregnant women is the RSVpreF (Abrysvo) vaccine. Abrysvo should be given to the mother during weeks 32 through 36 of pregnancy in September through January for the continental United States. If Abrysvo is not given to the expecting mother, the RSV monoclonal antibody nirsevimab (Beyfortus) is administered to the infant within 1 week of birth. This is to prevent RSV-associated lower respiratory tract infection in the infant. Learn about common respiratory illnesses in children.

Age 1-2 Months

Hepatitis B: Second dose should be given 1 to 2 months after the first dose.

Age 2 Months

Rotavirus vaccine RV1 (two-dose series Rotarix) or RV5 (three-dose series RotaTeq): First dose. Learn more about the rotavirus vaccine.

Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis vaccine (DTaP): First dose

Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib): First dose

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV15, PCV20): First dose

Inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV): First dose

Do I need a tetanus shot for a small puncture? Check out our blog to find out.

Age 4 Months

Rotavirus RV1 (two-dose series Rotarix) or RV5 (three-dose series RotaTeq): Second dose

Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis (DTaP): Second dose

Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib): Second dose

Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV15, PCV20): Second dose

Inactivated poliovirus (IPV): Second dose

Age 6 Months

Rotavirus RV1 RV5 (three-dose series RotaTeq): Third dose

Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis (DTaP): Third dose

Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib): Third dose

Pneumococcal conjugate (PCV15, PCV20): Third dose of the 4-dose series vaccines (ActHIB, Hiberix, Pentacel, or Vaxelis), which are given at 2, 4, and 6 months with a booster dose at 12-15 months. 

Note that Vaxelis is not recommended for use as a booster, and a different Hib-containing vaccine is used. If the 3-dose series PedvaxHIB is used, the doses are given at 2 and 4 months, followed by a booster dose at 12-15 months.

Age 6-15 Months

Hepatitis B: Third dose between 6 and 18 months of age.

Inactivated poliovirus (IPV): Third dose between 6 and 18 months of age.

COVID-19 vaccine (1vCOV-mRNA, 1vCOV-aPS): 2-dose series of Moderna at 0 and 4-8 weeks or 3-dose series of Pfizer- BioNTech at 0, 3-8, and 11-16 weeks.

Flu vaccine (IIV4, LAIV4): Annual vaccination 1 or 2 doses. Children between 6 months and 8 years of age who have received fewer than 2 flu shots before July 1 or who have an unknown flu shot history should get 2 doses at least 4 weeks apart. 

Children between 6 months and 8 years of age who have received at least 2 influenza vaccine doses before July 1 and children 9 years of age and older should get 1 dose. 

Check out our blog to find out what flu shot side effects to expect.

Age 12-15 Months

Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib): Third or fourth dose (booster).

Pneumococcal disease vaccines (PCV15, PCV20): Third or fourth dose (booster).

Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine: First dose of the two-dose series. The MMRV vaccine (MMR and varicella combination vaccine) can be given if parents or caregivers prefer, although it is recommended that varicella be given separately from MMR in children 12-47 months old.

Varicella vaccines (VAR): First dose.

Hepatitis A (HepA): First dose of two-dose series at age 12-23 months with a minimum gap of 6 months from the previous dose.

Age 18 Months

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV-mAB nirsevimab): 1 additional dose between ages 8 and 19 months only for infants who meet specific criteria such as being Alaska Native or American Indian or if they have certain medical conditions. Your child’s pediatrician will let you know if your child needs a second dose of RSV antibody entering their second RSV season.

Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis (DTaP): Fourth dose.

COVID-19 (1vCOV-mRNA, 1vCOV-aPS): One or two doses of the updated vaccine.

Flu vaccine (IIV4): Annual vaccination 1 or 2 doses up to age 10 years and 1 dose only after age 11. 

Hepatitis A (HepA): Second dose of the two-dose series given between ages 12 and 23 months with a minimum of 6 months between doses.

Age 4-6 Years

Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis (DTaP): Fifth dose.

Inactivated poliovirus (IPV): Fourth and final dose.

Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine: Second dose.

Varicella (VAR): Second dose.

Age 9-16 years

Dengue vaccine (DEN4CYD): Three-dose series with the doses given 6 months apart. Recommended for children living in dengue-endemic areas and with laboratory confirmation of a previous dengue infection. The minimum age for dengue vaccination is 9 years old. Find out who should get the dengue fever vaccine.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine: The minimum age for HPV vaccine is 9 years old, and it is routinely recommended at 11 to 12 years of age.

Age 11-12 Years

Tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap): One dose. 

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine: 2-dose series for ages 9-14 years or 3-dose series for ages 15 years and above. Read our blog on HPV vaccine information for parents.

Meningococcal vaccine: First dose. Minimum age for MenACWY-CRM (Menveo) is 2 months, for MenACWY-TT (MenQuadfi) is 2 years, for MenACWY-TT/MenB-FHbp (Penbraya) is 10 years. These vaccines protect against meningococcal disease that affects the brain and spinal cord as well as blood infection.

DTap vs. Tdap: What’s the difference?

Age 16 Years

Meningococcal vaccine: Second dose. 

Age 16-18 Years

Meningococcal serogroup B vaccination (MenB-4C, Bexsero; MenB-FHbp, Trumenba; MenACWY-TT/MenB-FHbp, Penbraya): Two-dose series (Bexsero recommended doses at least one month apart; Trumenba recommended doses at least 6 months apart). These vaccines are given based on shared clinical decision-making. The age range is 16-23 years. The minimum age is 10 years. The preferred age is 16-18 years. 

Age 18 Years

Mpox vaccine (Jynneos) based on risk status in young adults.

Key Takeaways

It is very important to give your child’s healthcare provider their immunization history and have your child vaccinated as recommended. 

Following the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended schedule and making sure your child gets all the recommended immunizations is vital to protect your child against many serious diseases. 

Side effects of vaccines are mild and temporary in most cases. Typical side effects from vaccination include discomfort at the injection site that may be slightly red and swollen. Low-grade fever and general malaise may occur with certain types of vaccines.  

While a severe allergic reaction is very rare, it can happen in some cases. Update your child's healthcare team on any allergy they may have and all current prescription medications and over-the-counter supplements.

Most children should follow the recommended vaccine schedule outlined above. Some exceptions may include:

  • If your child has spent time overseas where immunization practices are different from the US, or if your child has missed some routine vaccination, you should talk to their healthcare provider about a catchup vaccination schedule. 

  • If there is a disease outbreak, your child’s healthcare professional may advise getting one or more doses of a specific vaccine for protection. 

  • If your child has underlying health conditions, such as chronic heart disease, chronic lung disease, or a weakened immune system, your child’s provider may recommend a modified immunization schedule.

  • Vaccine recommendations may vary for children who come in contact with people who have a contagious disease.

  • If your child has certain underlying health conditions, you should discuss them with your child's pediatrician to determine which vaccines are appropriate for your child. Shared decision-making is critical as you and the provider work together to develop the best health choices for your child.     

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  1. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/child-adolescent.html

  2. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/rsv/hcp/pregnant-people-faqs.html

  3. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/diseases/mening.html

  4. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/immunization-chart.html