7 Newborn Vaccines Your Baby Needs

Is your baby protected from vaccine-preventable diseases? Here's the newborn vaccine schedule recommended by the CDC and AAP for your baby's first months of life.

Your baby will be given a handful of vaccines in the first months of life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) both recommend the same carefully-planned childhood vaccine schedule. Following the schedule in the coming months and years will put your infant on track for life-long immunity to dangerous diseases.

The vaccines recommended for your young baby are closely monitored by the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for safety and effectiveness. Here are the vaccines that are recommended for newborns from birth through 2 months.

baby getting vaccination
Steve Debenport—Getty Images.

Vaccines Given Just After Birth

To ensure that your baby is protected as soon as possible and to help parents and caregivers stay on track with recommended vaccines, some vaccines are given as soon as possible following a baby's birth.

In fact, the first dose of the Hepatitis B vaccine is usually given while your baby is still in the hospital after birth. You can always talk to your pediatrician if you have any questions about vaccines or their timelines, and you can start the conversation long before your delivery date too.

Hepatitis B vaccine

The first dose of the hepatitis B (HepB) vaccine is given after birth before taking your baby home from the hospital. A hepatitis B infection can cause slow, persistent liver damage in a child. The virus, found in blood and body fluids, can last on a surface for up to a month. Doctors recommend this vaccine for all babies to protect against infection and complications like liver disease and cancer.

Vaccines Given at 2 Months

At 2 months, your baby will start the doses of many different series of vaccines. For most vaccines, your baby will need multiple doses spaced out over a few months to get full protection.

Hepatitis B vaccine

Your baby will receive a second dose of the hepatitis B vaccine during their 2-month check-up. In total, your baby will eventually receive three doses of the hepatitis B vaccine to complete their vaccination series.

DTaP vaccine

The four-dose diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) vaccine series protects your baby from three life-threatening, toxin-releasing bacterial diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.

Often found in unsanitary conditions or from improper wound care, tetanus is a severe disease of the nerves that can cause the jaw to lock. Diphtheria affects breathing and the throat in small children and may cause nerve, heart, and kidney damage. Pertussis (also known as whooping cough) is a highly contagious disease that mostly affects babies under 6 months and causes coughing spells that can become severe and potentially deadly.

Getting the DTaP vaccine between 27 and 36 weeks of pregnancy is also a great way to protect your infant from contracting pertussis.

Hib vaccine

The Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) vaccine protects your baby from Hib infection, and your baby will receive their first of four Hib vaccines at their 2-month well-baby check. This bacteria can cause several life-threatening illnesses such as pneumonia, skin and throat infections, and meningitis that may lead to permanent brain damage. Kisses, sneezes, and direct contact can pass this debilitating and deadly bacteria to your newborn.

Rotavirus vaccine

The rotavirus (RV) vaccine protects your baby from rotavirus, which causes fever, vomiting, cramps, and watery diarrhea. The RV vaccine is an oral vaccine that is either offered as a two-dose or three-dose series depending on the brand your pediatrician offers. Rotavirus is highly contagious that can also pass easily through settings such as child care centers. Severe diarrhea is less common if your child is vaccinated.

Polio vaccine

The inactivated poliovirus (IPV) vaccine, protects your baby from polio, a contagious, debilitating, and potentially deadly disease. This viral respiratory disease can cause anything from flu-like symptoms to neurological disease, severe debilitating paralysis, and death.

Babies with polio may never recover from nerve damage that can leave limbs completely paralyzed for life. Once the IPV vaccination series is complete (three full doses), it is nearly 99% effective in preventing serious polio disease, according to the CDC.

Pneumococcal vaccine 

The four-dose pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13) vaccine protects your baby from pneumococcal disease, which may cause pneumonia, infections of the blood, and bacterial meningitis. PCV13 spreads through contact with others, so by getting your baby the vaccine you protect other children, as well.

Taryn Chapman, otherwise known as The Vaccine Mom, is a medical molecular biologist and mother of two. You can learn more at The Vaccine Mom.

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