Getting the right shots at the right time is key to safeguarding the health of your baby and your community.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), together with medical and public health experts, created an immunization schedule for when infants and children should get which shots. Timing is important. Parents who choose to skip or spread out the shots risk their child getting sick during that delay. They also risk spreading diseases to other children and to seniors with weak immune systems. In short, they risk infecting anyone in their community who isn't protected.
Because of vaccines, diseases that harm kids have declined. Emergency rooms see far fewer children for pneumonia. Vaccinated children miss fewer school days because they no longer get mumps. They don't get scars from scratching chicken pox. The last case of polio in the U.S. occurred in 1979. As a result, American children no longer risk the paralysis that can result.
You can use the CDC's scheduling tool to create an immunization schedule for your child. If you are behind on your child's shots, work with your doctor to set a catch-up schedule. Doing so reduces your child's risk of getting sick from a preventable disease.
Immunizations protect everyone in the family. Whooping cough is most dangerous to infants age three months or younger, because they cannot be fully immunized yet. Seniors can catch illnesses from babies. And some people who cannot have vaccines are at risk. Vaccinating everyone who is healthy enough to handle it protects us all.