According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1.5 million deaths could be avoided if global immunization coverage improves.

As healthcare providers, we understand that there is a lot of concern around vaccinations, especially for children. We believe that, as a parent, it is your responsibility to be as educated as you can, and as a healthcare provider, it is our responsibility to help you get educated.

Are Vaccinations Important? What is the Vaccination Schedule?

Learn more about vaccinations, what ingredients are in them, if there are side effects and what the ten recommended vaccinations are for your child.


When bacteria or a virus enters the body, it will attack your immune system and multiply. This is called an infection, which causes the illness. The body’s immune system fights off the attack and develops cells (antibodies) that can recognize the illness in the future.

Instead of waiting to develop the infection, where there is a chance that your body won’t fight it off, a vaccine can be administered. The vaccine produces an imitation infection, (this does not cause illness) which elicits an immune system response, producing the same supply of antibodies without the risk of developing the real illness.

Vaccinations are a tool for controlling and eliminating life-threatening diseases. WHO estimates that between two to three million deaths are averted each year.



Vaccinations contain antigens and other ingredients. These ingredients either make up the vaccination or help ensure that they will be safe and effective.

  • Preservatives prevent contamination.
  • Adjuvants stimulate the body’s response to antigens.
  • Stabilizers keep the vaccination safe during transportation and storage.
  • Residual cell culture grows the virus to make enough of the vaccine.
  • Residual inactivating ingredients kill the virus during the manufacturing process.
  • Residual antibiotics prevent contamination by bacteria during the manufacturing process.

Side effects of vaccinations are mild, such as redness and swelling around the vaccination area. Very rarely will a child have an allergic reaction to a vaccination, and your healthcare provider should be well-trained to deal with it.

Depending on you or your child’s age, there are recommended vaccinations.



There are 14 diseases that are vaccine preventable. Ten of the vaccines can prevent 14 of these diseases. Vaccinations can be given in a series of two or more doses at a child’s specific age.

  • Disease: Diphtheria
  • Vaccine: Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (DTaP)
  • Vaccine Schedule: Two, four and six months and then again at 15 months.

One in ten people infected with diphtheria will die. This disease is caused by bacteria, and if not properly diagnosed, can produce a toxin that causes heart failure or paralysis.

  • Disease: Hepatitis A
  • Vaccine: Hepatitis A (HepA)
  • Vaccine Schedule: Between 12 and 23 months

This disease is caused by the Hepatitis A virus and is found in bowel movements and is spread through contact or through contaminated food and drink. This disease causes liver disease, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue and yellow skin or eyes.

  • Disease: Hepatitis B
  • Vaccine: Hepatitis B (HepB)
  • Vaccine Schedule: At birth, between one and two months, then again at two and six months old

This disease is caused by the Hepatitis B virus and can be spread through human contact with blood and fluids. This disease causes the same symptoms of Hepatitis A.

  • Disease: Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib)
  • Vaccine: Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib)
  • Vaccine Schedule: Two, four, six months old and then again between 12 and 15 months old

Hib was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children younger than five before the vaccination. This disease is caused by bacteria and can not only cause bacterial meningitis, but can also cause pneumonia and arthritis.

  • Disease: Influenza (flu)
  • Vaccine: Influenza (flu)
  • Vaccine Schedule: Six months

The flu is caused by the influenza virus and occurs during the winter months. Symptoms can include a fever, sore throat, cough and headaches and can lead to sinus infections and pneumonia.

  • Disease: Measles
  • Vaccine: Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
  • Vaccine Schedule: 12 months old

Measles, also known as rubeola, has 21 strains of the measle virus. According to WHO, measles is still one of the leading causes of death among young children.

  • Disease: Mumps
  • Vaccine: Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
  • Vaccine Schedule: 12 months old

Mumps is caused by the mumps virus that can cause mild to no symptoms.

  • Disease: Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Vaccine: Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (DTaP)
  • Vaccine Schedule: Two, four, six months old and then again at 15 to 18 months old

Whooping cough, caused by bordetella pertussis, can affect anyone at any age; however, it is a very serious condition for newborns. Whooping cough is known for the violent coughing fits a person can have followed by the deep “whooping” breaths.

  • Disease: Pneumococcal Disease
  • Vaccine: Pneumococcal vaccine (PCV13)
  • Vaccine Schedule: Two, four, six and 12 months old

This is an infection caused by streptococcus pneumoniae and can cause pneumonia, sepsis, otitis media (middle-ear infection) and bacterial meningitis.

  • Disease: Polio
  • Vaccine: Polio vaccine
  • Vaccine Schedule: Two, four and six months old

This disease is caused by the polio virus and can cause paralysis.

  • Disease: Rotavirus
  • Vaccine: Rotavirus (RV)
  • Vaccine Schedule: Two, four and six months old

This virus can cause gastroenteritis, which is an inflammation of the stomach. Infants and younger children are more likely to get this virus. If not treated, hospitalization or death can occur.

  • Disease: Rubella (german measles)
  • Vaccine: Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
  • Vaccine Schedule: 12 months old

This is a three day measle virus that is generally a mild disease. If a woman is pregnant and develops rubella, there is an 80 percent chance that her unborn child could develop congenital rubella syndrome (CRS).

  • Disease: Tetanus (lockjaw)
  • Vaccine: Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (DTaP)
  • Vaccine Schedule: Two, four, six months old and then again at 15 to 18 months old

Lockjaw can be contracted through injuries such as burns, cuts or scrapes. It can produce a toxin that causes muscle cramps, which can be strong enough to break a small child’s bone.

  • Disease: Varicella (chicken pox)
  • Vaccine: Varicella vaccine
  • Vaccine Schedule: Between 12 and 15 months

Chicken pox is usually a mild disease; however, if left untreated, it can cause skin infections and encephalitis.

National Immunization Schedule



As you grow older, you may think that you don’t need to get vaccinations; however, that is not true.

Two vaccinations that adults need to keep up on are the flu vaccination and TDaP.

Depending on your traveling habits, school situation or health conditions, you may be recommended to get other vaccinations, such as the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination.

You can use this great Center for Disease Control tool to see what vaccinations are required for every year of school.



If you are planning to be pregnant, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that you get the MMR vaccination one more before pregnancy and the TDaP vaccine during pregnancy.

Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about a vaccine schedule, especially if you are planning to be pregnant.

If you are planning to be pregnant or are already pregnant, schedule an obstetric appointment with us today.


As parents, we understand that it is important to be informed about vaccinations and how they can affect you and your child. That is why we believe it is incredibly important for you to be educated on how vaccinations work, side effects and risks, as well as what exactly is in a vaccine.

Here are a few tips when trying to decide if you or your child should get vaccinated:

  • Get educated.
  • Ask your primary care provider.
  • Write down your medical history.
  • Monitor you and your child after vaccination.
  • Ask for a copy of West Virginia’s state mandatory vaccination list.
  • Don’t get intimidated by your healthcare provider. They are here to help you.