Immunization schedule changes for children, teens

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Childhood immunization
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New guidelines for vaccines in children and teens now include expanded protection from pneumonia, pertussis and hepatitis B.

The guidelines for 2001, issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics, include hepatitis B vaccine for infants not receiving a birth dose. Immunization against hepatitis B for infants not given the vaccine at birth includes 3 or 4 doses, with the last to be given no sooner than 24 weeks of age.

Pneumonia vaccine with the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) is now replaced with 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) that was approved by the FDA February 2010 to protect against 3 pneumococcal serotypes and prevention of ear infections. The change was found by the FDA to be cost effective and expands protection from pneumonia, a leading cause of infant mortality.

Meningococcal vaccine that used to be administered at age 11 or 12 only is now updated to include a booster at age 16 to 18 to provide longer lasting immunity.

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Whooping cough or pertussis vaccine should be given to children age 7 to 10 if vaccination status is unknown or never given. The Tdap vaccine should also be given to teens age 13 through 18 if not previously administered. Boosters are given every 10 years.

Two doses of seasonal flu should be given to 6 to 8 year olds who did not receive 2009 H1N1 vaccine, given four weeks apart.

The HPV4 vaccine that is given to girls to protect against genital warts may be given in three doses to boys aged 9 to 18.

In summary, the new recommendations for childhood and teen vaccinations include changes in hepatitis B, pneumococcal, seasonal influenza, meningococcal, whooping cough or pertussis, influenza type B and HPV vaccine. The complete guidelines can be found at the American Academy of Pediatrics website. Immunization schedules change yearly.

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