Recommended Immunizations Help Prevent Disease

Experts at Skagit Regional Health’s pediatric services keep children and families healthy with the latest recommended immunizations. Vaccines prevent and eliminate diseases, helping to keep your family and community well.

Understanding How Vaccines Work

Child receiving immunizationWith vaccinations, killed or weakened disease germs are purposely introduced into the body, usually by injection, or shot. Then the immune system goes to work, just as if you were exposed to a disease, as follows:

  1. The body recognizes the vaccine germs as not belonging in your body – as being foreign invaders.
  2. The body produces antibodies as a response, the same as if you had been exposed to the disease.
  3. The germs in the vaccine are weakened or killed, so they do not cause illness. You still develop immunity, just as if you had gotten sick from the actual disease. So, if germs from that disease try to infect you, your immune system will come to your defense and stop them from making you sick.

This means that whether you get a specific disease or get a vaccine, you get future protection from that disease. The difference is that with the disease you have to get sick to get that protection. With the vaccine, you help reduce the risk of getting sick.

Nationally Recommended Vaccines for Children

These nationally recommended vaccines for children help keep your child safe from the following diseases:

  • Diphtheria
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib)
  • Influenza (Flu)
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Pertussis (        Whooping cough)
  • Pneumococcal disease
  • Polio
  • Rotavirus
  • Rubella (German measles)
  • Tetanus (Lockjaw)
  • Varicella (Chickenpox)

Following the Vaccination Schedule Prevents Illness

Pediatricians at Skagit Regional Health usually give all of these childhood vaccines in a series of 2 or more doses, at specific ages, including:

  • Birth: HepB
  • 2 months: HepB (1-2 mos) + DTaP + PCV13 + Hib + Polio + RV
  • 4 months: DTaP + PCV13 + Hib + Polio + RV
  • 6 months: HepB (6-18 mos) + DTaP + PCV13 + Hib + Polio (6-18 mos) + RV
  • 12 months: MMR (12-15 mos) + PCV13 (12-15 mos) + Hib (12-15 mos) + Varicella (12-15 mos) + HepA (12-23 mos)
  • 15 months: DTaP (15-18 mos)

A booster shot for some immunizations is recommended at 4-6 years of age. Additionally, an annual dose of flu vaccine is recommended every winter for children 6 months old or older.

Other Recommended Childhood Vaccines

Other vaccines may be recommended for older children, adolescents or young children in certain circumstances. These vaccines include:

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, recommended at the 11-12 year visit to help prevent cervical cancer and other types of cancer
  • Japanese encephalitis, typhoid, meningococcal or yellow fever vaccines for children traveling abroad
  • Meningococcal vaccine for adolescents between 11 and 18 years of age and for younger children with certain medical conditions, to protect them from infections that could cause bacterial meningitis
  • Rabies vaccine for a child who was bitten by an animal or is traveling to a country where rabies is common
  • Tdap, a tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis vaccine that is similar to DTaP, but is formulated for adolescents and adults (recommended at the 11-12 year doctor’s visit)  

Immunization Tips to Keep Your Child Well

Pediatricians at Skagit Regional Health provide special tips to keep children well with vaccines, including:

  • If your child has a moderate or severe cold or other illness, let us know. We may ask you to postpone vaccinations until your child gets better.
  • We like to keep a child in the office for observation for 15 or 20 minutes after getting vaccines. This is done in the unlikely event of an allergic reaction or in case the child becomes dizzy or faints.
  • Call us if your child has an unusual reaction after a vaccine such as a high fever, redness or swelling.  

Be sure that all vaccinations that are given get recorded in your child’s immunization record.

For More Information About Pediatric Immunizations

To learn more about national recommendations for pediatric immunization schedules, please contact one of our team members at Skagit Regional Health pediatric services.