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In easy-to-understand language
Note: The terms "immunization," "vaccination," and "inoculation" are used to mean essentially the same thing throughout this site.
Every year, the National Immunization Program (NIP), along with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), issues a recommended childhood immunization schedule. This schedule tells parents and health care providers which vaccines children need to receive, and when children need to receive those vaccines. The currently recommended vaccines protect all children against 11 common infectious diseases.


  • A child�s best defense against many dangerous childhood diseases is to be immunized on time.
  • Immunizations protect children against: hepatitis B, polio, measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), pertussis (whooping coughs), diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw), Haemophilus influenzae type b (causes a type of meningitis), pneumococcal disease (also causes meningitis), and chickenpox. All of these immunizations need to be given before children are two years old in order for them to be protected during their most vulnerable period.
  • Each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention�s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) reviews the recommended childhood immunization schedule to address changes in the use of both previously- and newly-licensed vaccines.
  • The schedule is updated every January.

Recent Updates to the Childhood Schedule

The immunization schedule was last published in January 2001. The ACIP, AAP, and AAFP have made the following changes:

  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, which was licensed in February 2000, has been added to the schedule. It is routinely recommended for all children aged 2-23 months, and for certain children aged 24-59 months.
  • Recommendations for hepatitis A vaccine have been expanded to include adolescents through age 18 years and persons in certain high-risk groups.
CDC, National Immunization Program:

Last updated: August 2001

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