New 2010 Vaccination Guidelines for Children and Teens

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A joint committee has issued new 2010 vaccination guidelines for children and teens, and they include recommendations that children older than six months get the H1N1 flu vaccine. Among other guidelines, the new schedule also states that combination vaccines are usually preferred over separate injections.

The new guidelines are the combined efforts of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Family Physicians, and are published in the January issue of Pediatrics.

The new vaccination schedule states that doctors can recommend the earlier HPV4 (quadrivalent human papillomavirus) vaccine for boys ages 9 and older, which offers males protection from four strains of the virus and reduces the likelihood of them developing genital warts. This is only a permissive recommendation, however, which means physicians are encouraged to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of the vaccine with their patients and to provide the vaccine if patients ask for it. Thus the new guidelines do not recommend the routine use of the vaccine.

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The updated schedule also includes the human papillomavirus (HPV2) vaccine for girls, which is designed to protect females from two strains of the virus that have been associated with more than 70 percent of cases of cervical cancer. Children considered at risk for meningococcal disease should get a boost of meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) three years after their initial MCV4 dose at ages 2 through 6.

Yet another change concerns the poliovirus vaccine. The new guidelines note that after receiving four scheduled doses of inactivated poliovirus vaccine, the fifth dose should be administered on or after age 4 and at least six months after the fourth dose.

For adults, the new vaccination guidelines advise that unvaccinated healthcare workers who were born before 1957 and who do not have laboratory evidence of immunity to rubella, measles, or mumps should receive two doses of MMR during outbreaks of measles or mumps and one dose during a rubella outbreak. Consumers who are interested in viewing the Recommended Childhood and Adolescent Immunization Schedules for the United States 2010 can access them on the Pediatrics website.

SOURCES:
Pediatrics: Recommended Childhood and Adolescent Immunization Schedules, United States 2010
University of Alabama, Birmingham, news release Jan. 6, 2010

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