Best ways to keep your infant healthy? This is why babies’ first shots are so important.

“These first shots are absolutely imperative when it comes to keeping your baby healthy, from their first days of life and into childhood,” said pediatrician Becky Sarver Carothers, M.D.

Babies get their first shots in the hospital, likely on the day they’re born. The hepatitis B (hep B) vaccine, which protects against a viral liver infection, is administered quickly. This disease can be present without any symptoms. Babies who are infected with hepatitis B have a higher risk of developing cancer and deadly infections later in life. After the first shot, babies will be boosted for hep B at least twice before their first birthday.

Vaccines can save your child’s life by protecting them against preventable diseases. Your pediatrician will follow an immunization schedule that can help protect against potentially deadly infections.

“These first shots are absolutely imperative when it comes to keeping your baby healthy, from their first days of life and into childhood,” said Becky Carothers, M.D., pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Group – Broadway.

Vaccines for young infants (under 6 months old)

Before a baby is 6 months old, they will start to receive combination vaccines, which help protect against multiple diseases in the same dose. The first shots in this series are given at 2 months.

The Pentacel vaccine is a five-in-one vaccine that helps protect against diphtheria, a serious respiratory illness; tetanus, a deadly bacteria that also can cause lockjaw; pertussis, also known as whooping cough, which can cause pneumonia, respiratory failure or death in young infants; polio, which can cause a child to be unable to walk or breathe; and Haemophilus influenzae type B, a type of bacterial pneumonia that can cause serious or life-threatening infections in infants.

The Prevnar vaccine offers protection against 13 types of bacteria that cause pneumonia. The Rotavirus vaccine, which is given by mouth, protects against rotavirus, an infection that can cause diarrhea so severe that it can require hospitalization.

All three of these vaccines are administered in several doses that are spaced out during the baby’s first two years.

Vaccines for older infants (6 months and older)

The influenza vaccine should be administered starting at 6 months of age. The flu can be a serious illness in young children, and the vaccine helps prevent thousands of hospitalizations and deaths every year.

Norton Children’s Medical Group

Our pediatricians provide preventive medicine, like vaccines, and routine well checks for newborns to teenagers.

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Call (502) 629-KIDS (5437), option 3

Vaccines for toddlers (1-2 years old)

When a child turns 1, they should receive new shots that protect against additional diseases and infections.

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella (German measles). Serious cases can lead to brain infections and death. The varicella vaccine can protect against chickenpox or make infections less severe. The hepatitis A (hep A) vaccine protects against a liver infection caused by the hep A virus.

Why follow a vaccination schedule?

Delaying these first shots risks exposing babies to diseases when they are most likely to have serious complications. The vaccines are administered at intervals that allow the doses to provide the best immunity early in life, before a child is exposed to potentially life-threatening germs and illnesses.