Health Library

Health Library

Newborn Immunizations

Childhood diseases in the United States are near an all-time low. Government experts say this is because of vaccinations. But some viruses and bacteria are still around and can cause serious illness. This is why all children, especially infants and young children, get the recommended shots on schedule.

Many diseases that are controlled by vaccinations in the US are not controlled in other countries. Travelers sometimes bring those diseases to the U.S. This causes children here to become sick or disabled, and some children die because they didn’t get their shots

Experts who treat children’s diseases also recommend that infants get all their shots because it helps to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). 

What is the hepatitis B vaccine?

Babies get their first shots right after birth. The first shot they get is the hepatitis B vaccine. Here are some reasons why hepatitis B is a dangerous disease:

  • Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver caused by hepatitis B virus (HBV). 

  • Most people who have hepatitis B don’t have symptoms at first; this is especially true as a person gets older. The most common symptoms are: 

    • Yellow skin or eyes

    • Tiredness

    • Stomachache

    • Loss of appetite

    • Nausea

    • Joint pain

  • Young people who get HBV are more likely to stay infected and have life-long problems with their liver. For example, scarring of the liver and liver cancer.

  • A mother who has hepatitis B can give it to her baby. It is spread through contact with the blood of an infected person, or by having sex with an infected person. Sharing objects, such as toothbrushes or razors with an infected person can also spread the disease.

The HBV shot will prevent this disease. This shot is given to nearly all new babies. Babies should get another shot before age 18 months.

If babies are exposed to HBV before, during, or after birth, both a shot and a special treatment called HBV immune globulin within 12 hours of birth. 

Experts recommend that all babies get the HBV shots between age 6 months and 18 months to be fully protected against HBV infection. Getting both shots will help protect them from HBV.

Newborn Immunizations - WellSpan Health

Online Medical Reviewer: Akin, Louise, RN
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically-affiliated clinician
© 2014 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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