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Vaccines: Your Child’s Best Shot at Health

One of the best ways to protect your child against dangerous and potentially life-threatening diseases is to keep their vaccines up to date. Vaccines are the single most effective – and sometimes only – way to prevent children from the risk of deadly infectious diseases, including:

  • Chickenpox
  • Hepatitis B
  • HPV
  • Measles
  • Polio
  • Seasonal influenza
  • Whooping cough
  • And more

Why Children Especially Need Vaccines

From the moment we are born, we are exposed to thousands of germs – through the air, our food, and the objects and people we come in contact with. Our immune systems are designed to help us fight and ward off diseases that these germs expose us to.

Children are born with immune systems that are not yet fully developed, leaving them more vulnerable to disease. Vaccines help strengthen your child’s immune system by building his/her natural defenses against disease.


How Vaccines Work

There are two ways to protect our bodies from disease. Both ways involve direct exposure to the disease, which allows our immune systems to build resistance against the invading germs. The first, more potentially dangerous way to expose your immune system is to get sick from the disease. The second and safest route is through vaccines.

Vaccines allow your child to naturally develop immunity to diseases without becoming sick. They include special molecules called antigens that stimulate your child’s immune system to produce antibodies in the same way it would if your child was exposed to the disease itself. Children from birth through age 6 can be protected against 14 infectious diseases through 10 important vaccines. All childhood vaccinations are given as a series of two or more doses. More than one dose of these vaccines is needed to build high enough immunity to prevent disease, as well as to boost immunity that fades over time. Vaccines produce immunity about 90 - 99 percent of the time.


The Threat of Preventable-Disease Outbreak in Children

Declining vaccination rates among children are allowing some childhood infectious diseases to make a comeback. Diseases such as pertussis (whooping cough) are returning in epidemic proportions and have resulted in child deaths. Following childhood vaccine recommendations can protect your child and others from these dangerous diseases.


Child Vaccine Schedule

The recommended vaccine schedule for children provides immunity early in life. This is important because young children are susceptible to diseases and their bodies may not be strong enough to fight infection.

See the recommended childhood vaccination schedule and schedule your child’s well visit now.  Are you a new parent? Take the Infant Vaccine Quiz.


Teen Vaccines

Teenagers who missed important vaccinations as children may need updated immunizations. Parents, take this teen vaccine quiz to learn more.


Learn More about Child Vaccines

Parents seeking additional information are encouraged to learn more from your health care provider or these trusted sources. The information comes from reliable health resources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatricians, the World Health Organization, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

  • American Academy of Pediatrics Resource for Children’s Health Information
  • Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
  • Every Child by Two’s Vaccinate Your Baby Program
  • Healthy Futures
  • Immunization Action Coalition (IAC)
  • Michigan Department of Health & Human Services - 2019 Michigan Measles Outbreak Information
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Low-Cost Vaccines

Learn More at Your Child's Well Visit

Schedule your child’s well visit and talk to his/her pediatrician about the recommended vaccinations for your child at his/her age, including important vaccines and booster (follow-up) shots your child may have missed. Keep track of your child’s vaccines by requesting a vaccination card from your family doctor, or use this Developmental and Vaccination Tracker for children ages 0-6, courtesy of the CDC.