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What Shots Does My Baby Need, and When?

Getting your child immunized is something any parent can do to protect their children from dangerous diseases. Immunizations have been so successful at preventing disease that many parents have never seen most of the illnesses and complications that vaccines prevent. But these diseases still exist.

Below are the vaccines your child needs to be protected:



Your child should get these shots:

Additional Recommendations:


Hepatitis B

2 Months

DTaP – Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
Hepatitis B
Hib – Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib Meningitis)
PCV – Pneumococcal disease
Polio – Inactivated polio virus vaccine
RV – Rotavirus

4 Months

Hepatitis B – If 1st dose given at 2 months instead of birth

6 Months*

Hepatitis B

* Annual flu shots recommended
every fall for children 6 months
of age and older

12 Months*

Hepatitis A
MMR – Measles, Mumps, and Rubella
Varicella (Chickenpox)

15 Months*

DTaP – Can be given as early as 12 months.

18 Months*

Hepatitis A

Before Kindergarten*


Print the Child Immunization ChecklistNew Window(en EspañolNew Window) to help keep track of the vaccines your child needs to be protected.


How can I get help paying for vaccines?

Getting your child vaccinated can be easy and inexpensive. For families with health insurance, all or most of the cost of vaccines is usually covered.

By law, California managed care organizations (such as Kaiser Permanente and Blue Cross) must cover recommended immunizations for children. Your health plan may charge a copayment for the shot visit. Check with your health plan or your doctor’s office to ask about any fees.

If you don’t have health insurance, your child may be able to get free immunizations through one of these programs:

  • Healthy Families. Children enrolled in California’s Healthy Families plan receive free immunizations with no copayment.
  • Medi-Cal. Medi-Cal covers preventive care services for eligible low-income children and adults. Contact your local County Social Services for more information.
  • Some local pharmacies and Health Departments may also offer vaccines.
  • CHDP. Children eligible for California’s Child Health and Disability Prevention (CHDP) program may also be eligible for free or low-cost shots.

Where can my child get shots?

  • Doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital: Pediatricians and family doctors or their nurses or medical assistants can give your children the shots they need to keep them healthy and meet the requirements for school enrollment. Hospitals may give babies some shots at birth and can also give tetanus shots to kids and adults at the emergency room if necessary.
  • Pharmacies: Some large chain pharmacies offer immunizations for older children and adults (but not for infants).
  • Local health department: If your child doesn’t have a regular doctor, you can go to a community clinic or contact your local health department to learn about where to go for shots.

How can I keep track of my child’s shots?

yellow card

The California Immunization Record (sometimes called the “yellow card”) helps you keep track of what shots your child has received and when. Keep it safe, and keep it up-to-date. Bring it with you when you take your children in for shots. If you can’t find your child’s record card, ask your doctor’s office for a copy. Many California medical offices and clinics can now update your child’s yellow card automatically using an electronic immunization registry.

Last modified on: 10/30/2014 3:49 PM