Infants and children need vaccines to protect them from harmful diseases. These diseases can have serious complications, especially for very young children, and even cause death.

Each year, CDC sets the US childhood immunization schedule based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Your doctor can guide you in determining what vaccines your baby needs and when she needs them. By the time your baby is 2 years old, she should get vaccines that will protect her from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases. For many of these vaccines, more than one dose is needed to build up immunity and provide the best protection for your baby.

Two images of infants.

Find out what vaccines your baby needs and when with the Recommended Immunizations for Children from Birth through 6 Years Old Cdc-pdf[2 pages].

Vaccine Protection

For children younger than 19 years old, the recommended vaccines provide protection from 16 vaccine-preventable diseases, such as whooping cough (pertussis), measles, polio, and bacterial meningitis.

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Your Baby’s First Shots

Before leaving the hospital or birthing center, your baby receives the first of 3 doses of the vaccine that protects against Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B virus can cause chronic swelling of the liver and possible lifelong complications. It’s important to protect infants and young children from hepatitis B because they are more likely than adults to develop incurable chronic (long term) infection that can result in liver damage and liver cancer.

Learn why Hepatitis B vaccine is important to protect you and your baby.

Record your baby’s vaccines, growth, and developmental milestones using the Well Child Visit Tracker Cdc-pdf[2 pages]. Learn more about developmental milestones at Learn the Signs. Act Early.

Babies’ Immunity

Don’t Infants Have Natural Immunity?

Babies receive some immunity (protection) from their mother during the last few weeks of pregnancy. These antibodies decrease over time, leaving the infant vulnerable to disease. By following the recommended immunization schedule, you are protecting your baby by providing immunity early in life, before they are likely to be exposed to potentially serious diseases and when they are most vulnerable to infections.

Learn about how vaccines and the body work together to fight diseases, check out vaccines and your child’s immune system.

See how moms can pass along protection against flu and whooping cough by getting flu and Tdap vaccines while they are pregnant.

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Page last reviewed: April 15, 2016