DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis) vaccine

Diphtheria is an infection where the bacteria release a toxin that can cause problems in the nerves and the heart.

Tetanus, also called “lockjaw,” is a disease that causes muscles spasms that can be so severe that they can lead to broken bones, problems breathing, and even coma.

Pertussis is also known as “whooping cough,” where a person develops coughing fits so bad that they throw up and have a difficult time eating and even breathing. Pertussis can develop into pneumonia and may even cause seizures and mental retardation. Babies with pertussis may develop episodes where they stop breathing.

Tdap vaccine

is a booster vaccine that replaces the old tetanus booster. Along with tetanus immunity, immunity against pertussis wanes over time, so the vaccine has been changed to provide additional immunity against both illnesses.

Hepatitis A vaccine

Hepatitis A is a common contagious viral infection of the liver that can cause fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and jaundice.

Hepatitis B vaccine

Hepatitis B is viral infection of the liver that can cause fatigue, vomiting, abdominal pain, and jaundice like Hepatitis A. But unlike Hepatitis A, this infection can become lifelong, leading to severe liver disease and liver cancer.

Hib (Haemophilus influenzae B) vaccine

Haemophilus influenzae is a bacteria that can cause severe meningitis, which can leave survivors of the illness with seizures, deafness, and mental retardation. It also causes ear infections, pneumonia, blood infections, and epiglottitis (severe throat swelling that can lead to closure of the airway).

HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine

Human papillomavirus is the most common cause of cervical cancer, as well as genital warts.

Influenza vaccine

Influenza is an infection generally only seen in the winter. Symptoms include: fever, muscle aches, fatigue, cold symptoms, and nausea. Complications can include pneumonia, ear infection, and sinus infection. The influenza vaccine is given annually because a new vaccine is released each year, based on the previous year’s flu strains. The vaccine is recommended for all children ages 6 months and up.

IPV (inactivated polio) vaccine

Polio is a disease that can cause paralysis leading to permanent disability and even death.

MCV4 (meningococcal conjugate) vaccine

The meningococcal bacteria causes an abrupt, rapidly progressing meningitis that has a high mortality. Due to its highly contagious nature, this disease is seen particularly in close-quartered areas (i.e. dorm rooms, locker rooms, military barracks).

MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine

Measles can cause cold symptoms, ear infections, and pneumonia, which may become life-threatening. Some persons infected with measles can develop encephalitis (swelling of the brain).

Mumps is generally a mild infection. However, it can cause swelling of the testes in young men, increase the risk of miscarriage if a woman is infected while pregnant, and (in rare cases) can cause brain and spinal cord damage.

Rubella also is generally a mild infection. However, exposure during pregnancy can lead to problems for the baby, including heart problems, cataracts, deafness, and mental retardation.

Pediarix vaccine

Pediarix is a combination vaccine (composed of DTaP, IPV, and Hepatitis B) designed to minimize the number of injections a baby receives.

PCV (pneumococcal conjugate) vaccine

Like Hib, the pneumococcal bacteria is a common cause of ear infections, pneumonia, blood infections, and meningitis.

Rotavirus vaccine

Rotavirus is a common cause of fever, vomiting, and diarrhea.  It is especially dangerous to infants, who can become rapidly dehydrated.

VZV (varicella-zoster virus) vaccine

VZV is the virus that causes chickenpox. Chickenpox is generally a mild rash in kids, but can become severe in babies and elderly adults. Complications of chickenpox can include pneumonia and encephalitis.