Your baby’s first vaccines are very important.
While they don’t provide instant protection, they do start your baby on the path to eventually getting protected from 16 different vaccine-preventable diseases.
Your Baby’s First Vaccines
After the birth dose of the hepatitis B vaccine, your baby’s first vaccines when you visit your pediatrician for their two month check up will include:
- DTaP – diptheria – tetanus – pertussis
- IPV – polio
- Hepatitis B
- Hib – haemophilus influenzae type b
- Prevnar 13 – pneumococcal disease
Sound like too many? Those vaccines work to protect your baby against eight vaccine-preventable diseases! Before these vaccines were routine, when infants got fewer immunizations, they got more disease.
And it doesn’t mean that your baby has to get six shots.
The rotavirus vaccine is oral – your baby drinks it.
And many of the other vaccines can be given as a combination vaccine, either Pediarix (combines DTaP-IPV-HepB) or Pentacel (combines DTaP-IPV-Hib), to reduce the number of individual shots your baby needs to get even more.
While that still means multiple injections, there are things you can do to minimize the pain during and after the vaccines, from breastfeeding and holding your baby to simply trying to get them distracted.
Your Baby’s Next Vaccines
After their first vaccines at two months, your baby will complete their primary series of vaccines with repeated dosages of the same vaccines at four and six months.
Why do we need to repeat the same vaccines?
Because that’s often what it takes to help us build up an immune response to a vaccine, especially at this age.
These first vaccines prime the immune system, which when followed by a later booster vaccine, provide good protection against each disease.
And the requirement of multiple dosages of a vaccine is a small price to pay to be able to skip the symptoms and risk of more serious consequences that come from getting a natural infection and natural immunity.
Did your baby have a reaction to their first set of vaccines?
While some fever, pain, and fussiness is not unexpected, be sure to tell your health care provider if your baby had a reaction that you think was more severe, like a high fever or non-stop crying for several hours.
Can you expect a reaction to your baby’s second set of shots if they had a reaction to the first? Probably not. Side effects, even those that are serious, rarely happen again, even when the same vaccines are given.
Your Baby’s Vaccines
While you certainly shouldn’t skip or delay any of these vaccines, you should know that:
- the routine age for starting these vaccines is at two months, but
- if necessary, they can be given as early as when a baby is six weeks old.
- the routine interval between dosages of the primary series of these vaccines is two months, but
- if necessary (usually as part of a catch-up schedule), these vaccines can be usually be given as soon as four weeks apart, although the third dose in the series of DTaP, IPV, and Hepatitis B vaccines shouldn’t be given any sooner than at age six months.
- infants who will be traveling out of the United States should get an early MMR vaccine – as early as six months of age
And if your baby is at least six months old during flu season, then they will also need two doses of the flu shot given one month apart. The minimum age to get a flu shot is six months, and kids get two doses during their first year of getting vaccinated against the flu to help the vaccine work better.
What to Know About Your Baby’s First Vaccines
Your baby’s first vaccines are safe and necessary to start them on a path to eventually getting protected from 16 different vaccine-preventable diseases.
More on Your Baby’s First Vaccines
- Clear Answers and Smart Advice About Your Baby’s Shots by Ari Brown, MD
- CDC – Your Child’s First Vaccines (VIS)
- CDC – Rotavirus (VIS)
- 5 Evidence-Based Tips for Your Baby’s First Shots
- Your baby’s vaccinations
- AAP – Why does my child need to be immunized?
- Age Groups and Vaccines: Birth to 2 years
- Vaccines and Your Baby
- Baby’s First Shots: Swaddling And Shushing
- Passive Immunity 101: Will Breast Milk Protect My Baby From Getting Sick?
- Treatment of local injection reactions
- Medical Management of Vaccine Reactions in Children and Teens
- Editorial – Adverse Events Following Immunization: Will It Happen Again?
- What to do about vaccine side effects
- Side Effects from Vaccines
- CDC – Possible Side-effects from Vaccines
- ACIP – Preventing and Managing Adverse Reactions
- AAP – Vaccines and Side Effects: The Facts
- A look at the numbers in vaccine reactions
- A Serious Reaction After Vaccination Rarely Occurs Again With Later Immunization, Study Finds
- Ask the Experts: Vaccine Safety
- Side effects of childhood vaccines are extremely rare, new study finds
- Study – Severe reactions associated with diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine: detailed study of children with seizures, hypotonic-hyporesponsive episodes, high fevers, and persistent crying.
- Vaccine Side Effects and Adverse Events
- Why Some Kids Need a Second Dose Of Flu Vaccine
Updated February 7, 2018