National Infant Immunization Week is celebrated in 2017 from April 22 through the 29. During this week, doctors, communities and public health programs show the community how important immunizations are from a very early age to keep a child healthy and to keep dangerous diseases from spreading throughout communities. This is an excellent time for parents or soon-to-be parents to learn more about these life-saving drugs. Parents should understand what each of the common immunizations is for children under the age of 5 and should be aware of why they are important. The following are the most commonly recommended immunizations.


Varicella protects against the chickenpox. It is given in two shots with the first dose given at 12 months.

Hepatitis B

Hep B is given immediately when the child is born with two more doses given before the age of 18 months.

Rotavirus, DTaP, Hib, PCV and IPV

These four immunizations are given first at one month of age with the second dose given at four months and the third dose given at six months. Rotavirus protects against a type of diarrhea. DTaP protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis and requires continuing doses throughout childhood. Hib protects against a common form of bacterial meningitis. PCV protects against the pneumococcal virus, and IPV protects against polio; boosters for these two are given at 12 months.


MMR protects against the very contagious and dangerous measles, mumps and rubella. It cannot be given before the age of 12 months and requires a second dose before the child goes to school.

A child’s pediatrician may recommend a different series of dosages based on personal concerns and needs for the child. Some children may also receive an influenza vaccination, which must be given yearly for continuing protection. While the influenza vaccine is not foolproof, it guards against some of the most common viruses that cause the flu each year. In addition, parents should follow up with a pediatrician yearly as the child grows to keep up with booster shots. Of course, Dr. Matney understands that many parents have concerns about immunizations’ effectiveness and safety. He can discuss these concerns at an office appointment and can help parents come up with an immunization schedule that works for them. However, he believes in the necessity of immunizations for the overall health and wellness of the child and the community.