Children get as many as 25 shots and boosters in the first 15 months of life alone. There’s a lot of information out there about what vaccinations your child legally needs to attend school (it varies by state) versus what some researchers are saying about certain vaccines that may not be necessary, or that may even do more potential harm than good.

It’s easy to get lost in all this information!

To help provide some clarity, here’s a summary of Twelve Vaccines that help protect your child against potentially life-threatening germs:

1. Hepatitis B – newborns should get this shot even before leaving the hospital, and receive another dose at 1 to 2 months and a third at 6 to 18 months. The vaccine protects against an incurable, liver-infecting virus, hepatitis B, which can be passed to a baby during childbirth if the mother is infected.

2. DTaP – This vaccine protects against diphtheria (a germ that can form a gray or black film in the throat), tetanus (an infection that can cause muscle spasms so strong they can break bones), and pertussis (a highly contagious disease that causes a severe, uncontrollable cough, known as whooping cough).

3. MMR – This combo shot protects against three viruses: measles (which causes high fever and a body-wide rash); mumps (which causes face pain, swelling of the salivary glands, and sometimes scrotal swelling in boys); and rubella or German measles (which can cause birth defects if the infection occurs during pregnancy). The first shot is given at 12 to 15 months of age and once again between the ages of 4 and 6.

For the full list of twelve vaccines that help protect your child against potentially life-threatening germs click here.

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