Our body’s immune system helps protect against pathogens that cause infection. It either keeps microorganisms out or tracks them down and gets rid of them. However, sometimes the body doesn’t recognize some of these pathogens. When this happens, it can cause serious illness. Vaccination is a way to “teach” the immune system how to identify and eliminate such pathogens. That way, your body is prepared if you’re ever exposed.
When your baby is born, his/her immune system is not fully developed, putting him/her at higher risk for diseases. Vaccines help protect children against diseases that other people might introduce to them, by working with his/her body’s natural defenses to help develop immunity to a disease. Some vaccines require a follow-up dose, which helps reinforce your child’s defenses. Vaccinations don’t just protect individuals. When enough people are vaccinated, it helps protect society. We strongly recommend that children receive their vaccines on schedule since they are timed to protect them when they are most vulnerable and when the vaccines will produce the strongest response. Vaccines do not cause autism, nor will they “overwhelm” your child’s immune system. But please feel free to ask any questions you may have about vaccines or go to the American Academy of Pediatrics website for more information about this topic.
How do vaccines Work?
When your child becomes infected, his body relies on his immune system to fight the invading organism. White blood cells activate and begin making proteins called antibodies that locate the infectious agent and create a counteroffensive. Eventually, the immune system and its antibodies can aid stop many infections and help your child get well.
Immunizations rely on antibodies to fight off infections. When the vaccine is given, the body’s immune system detects it and reacts, making antibodies against the vaccine material. These antibodies remain in the body and are ready to respond if an actual infectious organism attacks. Sometimes, one dose of a vaccine is enough to protect a person for a lifetime, but others need more than one dose.
The recommended vaccine schedule is as follows:
Birth: HEP B 2 Months: PEDIARIX (DTAP, IPV, HEP B), PCV, HIB, RV 4 Months: PENTACEL (DTAP, IPV, HIB), PCV, RV 6 Months: PEDIARIX (DTAP, IPV, HEP B), PCV, HIB, RV 12 Months: MMR, VARICELLA, HEP A 15 Months: DTAP, HIB, PCV
18 Months: HEP A 4 Years: KINRIXS (DTAP, IPV) PROQUAD (MMR, VARICELLA) 11 Years: HPV (Optional), DAP, MENINGOCCOLA. 16 Years: MENACTRA, MEM B (BEXSERO OR TRUMEMBA)
Annual flu vaccines are recommended. Children will receive the 1st dose after 6 months of age and a booster one month later, then 1 dose each year thereafter.