Vaccine Information


Diphtheria, Tetanus and acellular Pertussis. Pertussis is the clinical name for whooping cough. The old DPT vaccine had a more significant number of reactions with fever, local redness/swelling at the site of the shot, and irritability. It was found that if the cells of the pertussis part were broken down, patients still got antibody protection without as many reactions; therefore, all DPT shots are now given as the DTaP vaccine. Tetanus boosters (Tdap) are recommended at age 11 years and at subsequent 10-year intervals. Exception: If a person sustains a "dirty" wound, a Td booster is recommended if it has been more than 5 years since the last booster.

  • Given at: 2, 4 and 6 months (part of Pediarix combination vaccine)
  • Booster doses: 18 months and 4-5 years
  • Tdap booster: 11 yr.
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Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a virus that can lead to liver failure and liver cancer. There is no cure for Hepatitis B virus, so efforts have been focused on prevention with vaccine. It is known that infants and young children who get Hepatitis B infection are much more likely to progress to liver failure and/or develop liver cancer than adults who acquire the infection. That is why it is recommended that infants receive their first dose of the vaccine shortly after they are born, while they are still in the hospital.

  • Given at: 2, 4 and 15 months
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Inactivated Polio Vaccine. The old polio vaccine was called the oral polio vaccine and was given by mouth. It was a low dose live vaccine of the polio virus. Since polio as a disease has been eradicated in our part of the world, a killed inactivated form of the polio vaccine is given by injection.

  • Given at: 2, 4 and 6 months (part of Pediarix combination vaccine)
  • Booster doses: 4-5 years
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Measles, Mumps and Rubella. Prior to universal vaccination with MMR, measles was a common childhood virus that led to seizures, brain damage and death in a significant number of children. Mumps can lead to deafness, meningitis, and swelling of the testicles or ovaries, which could lead to infertility and (rarely) death. Prior to vaccination, Rubella, commonly called “German Measles,” was a leading cause of miscarriage and serious birth defects in pregnant women who were infected with the virus. The MMR vaccine does NOT cause autism. Several published studies have documented that there is NO association between the MMR vaccine and developmental problems/autism.

  • Given at: 15 months and age 4-5
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Meningococcal meningitis is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in adolescents and young adults. Meningococcal meningitis is often sporadic, but it spreads rapidly in situations where teens and young adults live in close quarters, such as dorm rooms. In the past, the polysaccharide vaccine was recommended for college-bound teens. The new conjugate vaccine is recommended for all children at their 11-12 year old check ups

  • Given at: 11 years and 16 years
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Protects against invasive Pneumococcal disease (serious bloodstream infections, meningitis, deep skin infections, etc.) Because the HIB vaccine was so effective, scientists decided to develop a vaccine against Streptococcus pneumoniae, which is the second leading cause of bacterial meningitis in young children. By immunizing your child with both the HIB and Prevnar, you are preventing about 93% of cases of bacterial meningitis in your child. As a side bonus, it has been found that Prevnar also reduces the numbers of cases of ear infections and sinus infections in children. (This does not prevent all cases of ear infections/sinus infections, but reduces the number of infections caused by this particular bacteria.) Do not confuse Streptococcus pneumoniae with “strep throat,” which is caused by group A streptococcus and will not be prevented with this vaccine.

  • Given at: 2, 4, 6 and 12 months
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Varicella is commonly called chickenpox. Scientists began looking at a vaccine to prevent chickenpox for 3 reasons: (1) About 12,000 people are hospitalized and 100 people die each year in the United States as a result of chickenpox; (2) millions of dollars are lost each year by families who need to stay home from work for 7-10 days because of chickenpox illness in themselves or need to care for an infected family member; and (3) newly emerging resistant bacteria are beginning to account for a lot of secondary infections in people with chickenpox, which are becoming more difficult and in some cases impossible to treat.

  • Given at: 12 months and age 4-5
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Rotavirus is a virus that causes severe diarrhea, mostly in babies and young children. It is often accompanied by vomiting and fever. Rotavirus is not the only cause of severe diarrhea, but it is one of the most serious. Each year in the United States rotavirus is responsible for: more than 400,000 doctor visits; more than 200,000 emergency room visits; 55,000 to 70,000 hospitalizations; 20-60 deaths. Almost all children in the U.S. are infected with rotavirus before their 5th birthday. Children are most likely to get rotavirus disease between November and May, depending on the part of the country. Your child can get rotavirus infection by being around other children who are already infected. Better hygiene and sanitation have not been very good at reducing rotavirus disease. Rotavirus vaccine is the best way to protect children against rotavirus disease. Rotavirus vaccine is an oral (swallowed) vaccine; it is not given by injection.

  • Given at: 2, 4 and 6 months
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Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is found in the stool of persons with hepatitis A. It is usually spread by close personal contact and sometimes by eating food or drinking water containing HAV. Hepatitis A can cause: mild "flu-like" illness, jaundice (yellow skin or eyes), severe stomach pains and diarrhea. People with hepatitis A often have to be hospitalized (up to about 1 person in 5). Sometimes, people die as a result of hepatitis A (about 3-5 deaths per 1,000 cases). A person who has hepatitis A can easily pass the disease to others within the same household. Children who are not vaccinated by 2 years of age can be vaccinated at later visits.

  • Given at: 12 and 18 months
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