Vaccinations protect your child from contagious diseases caused by viruses or bacteria. This protection is important because infants and young children are particularly at risk of contracting certain infections. Experts recommend that all babies be vaccinated against various diseases on a set schedule. This is called the vaccination schedule. It states which vaccinations should be given when. In total, vaccinations against twelve infectious diseases are provided for children between the ages of six weeks and 23 months. Some of these vaccinations can be done at the same time in one appointment. If you have statutory health insurance, they are free of charge. It is best to talk to your doctor about vaccinations and suitable vaccination dates during your child's first check-ups.

The list of vaccinations recommended by experts is quite long. It can easily happen that you miss an appointment. The vaccination schedule - called a ‘vaccination calendar’ in German - helps to keep the overview. It lists all standard vaccinations for infants, children, adolescents and adults in the form of a table. It shows which vaccinations should best take place at what ages. A distinction is made between basic vaccinations and booster vaccinations. In Germany, the vaccination schedule contains the letters G and A. If you miss the scheduled time for a vaccination, there is still a period of a few weeks in which you can have the vaccination done later. It is called the catch-up vaccination period in the table. The good thing is that the yellow examination booklet that goes along with the U-check-ups tells you when is the best time for you and your child to have the next U-check-up and that you can also make appointments for the upcoming vaccinations when you visit the doctor.

Some of the diseases that are vaccinated against today are called childhood diseases. This is because they are so common that almost everyone who is not vaccinated gets them as a child. You’ll typically get childhood diseases once and then be protected from them for the rest of your life. However, contrary to what is often assumed, childhood diseases are not harmless. Without vaccination, you can get very sick. Then these infections are difficult or impossible to treat.

Your child is given a vaccine when they are vaccinated. Vaccines are drugs that cause the body to produce antibodies against pathogens such as viruses or bacteria. If an infection occurs after a vaccination, the body can defend itself against the pathogens without becoming ill. That means your child is immune. Different vaccines are needed for different infectious diseases. Some vaccinations you only get once. Then you are protected from the respective disease for the rest of your life. Other vaccinations you have to get several times to keep the protection. For some infectious diseases, there are so-called combination or multiple vaccines. The advantage is that your child can be protected against several diseases at the same time with only one injection.