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Vaccines - Immunization Schedule History

Vaccines and Vaccination


Updated April 01, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Combination Vaccines

In addition to these new vaccines, several new combination vaccines have been introduced over the years too, including:

  • Tetramune, a combination of DTP and Hib, 1993
  • Comvax, a combination of Hib and Hepatitis B, in 1996
  • Pediarix, a combination of DTaP, IPV, and the hepatitis B vaccine, in 2004
  • ProQuad, a combination of MMR and Varivax, in 2006
  • Pentacel, a combination of DTaP, IPV, and Hib, in 2008
  • Kinrix, a combination of DTaP and IPV, in 2008

Although they don't change the number of vaccines your kids get, combination vaccines can reduce the number of shots he gets at each visit. For example, instead of three separate DTaP, IPV, and Hib shots at his two, four, and six month well child visits, your child could get single Pentacel shot each time.

Immunization Schedule History

The current form of the childhood immunization schedule, which is put out each year by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), was first published in 1995. At that time, recommended vaccines included hepatitis B, DTP, although DTaP was available for the booster doses at 15 to 18 months and 4 to 6 years, Td, OPV (oral polio virus vaccine), and MMR.

Before 1995, the ACIP published vaccine schedules whenever new recommendations were made that changed the schedule, such as happened in:

  • 1994 - Hib and hepatitis B vaccines recommended for all infants and booster MMR for all kids
  • 1989 - Hib vaccine recommended for all toddlers at 18 months of age and booster MMR recommended for many toddlers
  • 1983 - in this schedule, kids got DTP (5 doses), OPV (4 doses), MMR (1 dose), and Td

Although some parents would like to go back to these earlier schedules, when kids got fewer vaccines, it is important to remember another part of history, as this was also a time when, each year, people (mainly kids) still got:

  • pneumonia, meningitis, and blood infections from the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria - 63,067 cases and 6500 deaths
  • meningitis, epiglottitis, and other serious infections from the Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) bacteria - 20,000 cases and 1,000 deaths
  • meningococcemia and meningococcal meningitis
  • hepatitis A - 117,333 cases, 6863 hospitalizations, and 137 deaths
  • hepatitis B - 66, 232 cases, 7,348 hospitalizations, and 237 deaths
  • rotavirus gastroenteritis - 3 million cases, 70 hospitalizations, and 20 to 60 deaths
  • chicken pox - just over 4 million cases, 10,000 hospitalizations, and 100 deaths
  • the most common forms of HPV that can cause cervical cancer

And since vaccines were introduced for these and the other vaccine preventable infections, cases for most have decreased 99 to 100 percent.

As more and more is done to reassure parents about the safety of vaccines, including that the efforts to link autism and vaccines have been disproved and thimerosal has been removed from all vaccines in the childhood immunization schedule, it would be unfortunate to let vaccination levels drop and these diseases return.



Long: Principles and Practice of Pediatric Infectious Diseases Revised Reprint, 3rd ed. - 2009.

American Academy of Pediatrics Committee Report: American Pediatrics: Milestones at the Millennium. Pediatrics, Jun 2001; 107: 1482 - 1491.

Shapiro-Shapin CG. Pearl Kendrick, Grace Eldering, and the pertussis vaccine. Emerg Infect Dis. Volume 16, Number 8-August 2010.

Mandell: Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, 7th ed.

Poliomyelitis Prevention in the United States. Updated Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR. May 19, 2000 / 49(RR05);1-22.

Haemophilus b Conjugate Vaccines for Prevention of Haemophilus influenzae Type b Disease Among Infants and Children Two Months of Age and Older Recommendations of the ACIP. MMWR. January 11, 1991 / 40(RR01);1-7

Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999 Impact of Vaccines Universally Recommended for Children -- United States, 1990-1998. MMWR. April 02, 1999 / 48(12);243-248

Roush SW. Historical comparisons of morbidity and mortality for vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States. JAMA. 14-NOV-2007; 298(18): 2155-63

Evan J. Anderson. Impact of Rotavirus Vaccination on Hospital-Acquired Rotavirus Gastroenteritis in Children. Pediatrics 2011; 127: e264-e270.

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