August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), an annual observance that highlights the importance of vaccination for people of all ages.
As a firm that represents families in claims involving medical malpractice – and many mothers and babies in cases of preventable birth injuries – we support healthy choices and healthy pregnancies, which includes immunization.
We’re happy to share information about on-time vaccination from the CDC. You can learn more by visiting the CDC’s NIAM webpage.
Growing Up with Vaccines: Pregnancy through Childhood
From pregnancy through childhood, vaccination helps provide immunity before children are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases. Here’s a brief overview.
Pregnant mothers can help protect their growing babies by staying current with vaccines before and during pregnancy. The CDC recommends the following vaccines:
- MMR vaccine, at least a month before becoming pregnant.
- Tdap vaccine, during the third trimester.
- Seasonal flu vaccine, by the end of October.
Other things to know about vaccines and pregnancy, according to the CDC:
- Mothers vaccinated during pregnancy can pass disease-fighting antibodies to their babies, which can protect against some diseases during the first few months of life.
- Recommended vaccines are deemed “very safe” for pregnant women and babies and protect against whooping cough and the flu, both of which pose risks of serious complications.
- Anyone around babies, not just mothers, should be up to date on routine vaccinations, as newborns don’t have fully developed immune systems.
- Pregnant women should get new vaccines when they get pregnant again. Antibodies produced by the body after vaccination decrease over time.
Infant & Toddler Years (Ages 1–2)
Vaccination help give infants and toddlers a healthy start. For many vaccines, more than one dose is necessary to build and boost immunity. Recommended vaccines include:
- Chickenpox (varicella) vaccine
- Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP)
- Flu vaccine
- Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
- Pneumococcal (PCV13) vaccine
- Polio (IPV) vaccine
- Rotavirus (RV) vaccine
Preschool and Elementary School Years (Ages 3–10)
As your child enters school, they’ll need additional doses of some vaccines and a flu vaccine each year. Some schools may require a certificate of immunization for a child to enroll.
You can speak with your doctor about recommended vaccines or about getting caught up with any missed vaccines. Recommended vaccines include:
Preteen and Teen Years (Ages 11 –18)
Adolescents need vaccines to extend protection and immunity as childhood vaccines wear off and to provide protection against infections before exposure risks increase. In addition to seasonal flu vaccines, the CDC recommends three vaccines for preteens:
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Meningococcal conjugate
Parents of teenagers should speak to their doctors about staying current with their child’s vaccines and catching up on any recommended ones. The CDC recommends:
- Serogroup B meningococcal conjugate
People of all ages can benefit from regular vaccination. Although adults may need other vaccines based on their personal health factors, the CDC recommends:
- All ages: Seasonal flu vaccine each year
- Every 10 years: Td vaccine
- Age 50 and older: Shingles vaccine
- Age 65 and older: Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine.
You can use the CDC’s Vaccine Guide to learn more about recommended vaccines.