The Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPDs)
on the currently recommended childhood immunization schedule


(Click on the disease name for more detailed information)

Hepatitis B - a virus that infects humans resulting in a wide variety of symptoms most notably inflammation of the liver and jaundice.

Diphtheria - a bacteria that can produce a toxin in a person's nasopharynx or on the skin resulting in tissue destruction and formation of a characteristic white membrane. The "D" in the DTaP vaccine.

Tetanus - a bacteria that produces spores which may produce a toxin that results in persistent, painful contraction of the muscles. The "T" in the DTaP vaccine.

Pertussis - a bacteria that produces a toxin resulting in inflammation and interference of the mucus clearing cilia in the respiratory tract. Also called "whooping cough". The "P" in the DTaP vaccine.

Polio - a virus that multiplies in the throat and intestines resulting in a wide range of disease severity from no symptoms to generalized paralysis. Also known as IPV (inactivated polio vaccine).

HiB (Haemophilus influenzae type B) - a bacteria which can be carried without symptoms but may also invade the tissues resulting in a variety of diseases including meningitis, epiglottitis, pneumonia, arthritis, and skin infections.

Pneumococcus (Streptococcus Pneumoniae) - a bacteria that may be carried without symptoms but may also invade the tissues and result in pneumonia, meningitis, blood infections, and ear infections. Also known as the Prevnar vaccine.

Measles - a virus that infects the respiratory tract and invades the bloodstream resulting in cold symptoms and a characteristic rash. The "M" in the MMR vaccine.

Mumps - a virus that infects the respiratory tract and lymph nodes and then invades the bloodstream resulting in inflammation of the glands (salivary, pancreas, testes, ovaries) and meninges (encephalitis). The other "M" in the MMR vaccine.

Rubella - a virus that infects the respiratory tract and lymph nodes and then invades the bloodstream resulting in a wide range of disease symptoms from no symptoms to cold symptoms with inflammation of the joints and swollen lymph nodes. Infection reaching a fetus in early pregnancy results in destruction of fetal cells and congenital rubella syndrome (eye defects, heart defects, neurologic problems). The "R" in the MMR vaccine.

Chickenpox (Varicella) - a virus that infects the respiratory tract and lymph nodes and then invades the bloodstream resulting in a characteristic rash. Infection reaching a fetus may result in congenital varicella syndrome (skeletal abnormalities, encephalitis, scarring, eye defects,). Also known as the Varivax vaccine.

Hepatitis A - a virus that infects the liver with a range of disease symptoms from none in young children to severe liver inflammation and jaundice. This vaccine is only recommended in certain states: AZ, AK, OR, NM, UT, WA, OK, SD, ID, NV, and CA.


Additional VPD information may be found at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Vaccine Education Center "a look at each vaccine"
A list of the various vaccines, brand names, as well as the package inserts may be viewed here


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