Fact Check: Children Do NOT Receive Up To 72 Doses Of Recommended Childhood Vaccines Between Birth And 18

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Children Do NOT Receive Up To 72 Doses Of Recommended Childhood Vaccines Between Birth And 18 By The Numbers

Do American children receive up to 72 doses of recommended childhood vaccines between birth and 18? No, that's not true: Using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule, Lead Stories could not match that number. We counted around 60 doses of recommended vaccines, which includes annual flu shots and two COVID-19 shots with a booster.

The claim appeared in an Instagram post on June 21, 2022, under the title "How has the childhood V* Schedule Changed?" The caption read:

If pregnancy Vs are included, todays number is upward to 72 - plus the additional new one that is starting to surface.

Please no 'buzz words' in the comment section. Sources directly from cdc data.

This is what the post looked like on Instagram at the time of writing:

childhood vaccines.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Wed Jun 22 21:52:46 2022 UTC)

As of June 24, 2022, there is a wide range of vaccines that are recommended from birth to 18 years old. They include:

  • Influenza (annual flu shot)
  • Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP)
  • Tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap "booster" for adolescents)
  • Poliovirus (IPV)
  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • Pneumococcal (PCV)
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
  • Rotavirus
  • Hepatitis B (Hep B)
  • Hepatitis A (Hep A)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Meningococcal (MenACWY)
  • Meningococcal B (MenB) - only for certain populations

On June 18, 2022, the Food and Drug Administration approved the Moderna and Pfizer COVID vaccines for use in children down to 6 months of age.

The COVID vaccine is recommended by the CDC during pregnancy, if needed:


Pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people. If you are pregnant, you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy can protect you from severe illness from COVID-19. If you have questions about getting vaccinated, talk to your healthcare provider.

The CDC also recommends:

A pregnant person should get vaccinated against whooping cough and flu during each pregnancy to protect herself and her baby, with immunity for the first few months of life.

This is the Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule of recommended vaccinations from the CDC:

Full CDC chart final.png

(Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention screenshot taken on Fri Jun 24 16:06:26 2022 UTC)

History of vaccines

The number of recommended vaccines has grown over the years as the Instagram post suggests, although the post's numbers are exaggerated. In the late 1940s, the schedule only included smallpox, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. In 1955, the polio vaccine was added. The smallpox vaccine was no longer recommended after 1972. The World Health Assembly declared smallpox eradicated in 1980. No cases of naturally occurring smallpox have happened since.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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