Feb. 1, 2011 -- An updated vaccine schedule for children and teens is out from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
"Parents should be aware that the vaccine schedule is updated every year," Cody Meissner, MD, a consultant to the AAP's Committee on Infectious Disease who helped update the new schedule, tells WebMD.
"It's updated as we acquire new vaccines that are licensed by the FDA, and it's updated as we gain new information about the optimal times to administer different vaccines,'' says Meissner, a professor of pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine and chief of pediatric infectious diseases, Tufts Medical Center, Boston.
This year's schedule addresses all the recommended vaccines during childhood and adolescence, with changes involving these vaccines:
The updated schedule has been approved by the AAP, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and the American Academy of Family Physicians. The pediatricians have also issued a catch-up schedule for children and teens ages 4 months through 18 years who started immunizations late or who are behind by more than a month.
The new information on immunizations is published online in the journal Pediatrics.
WebMD asked for input from two doctors involved in developing the updated schedules -- Meissner and Henry Bernstein, DO, a member of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases and chief of general pediatrics at the Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York.
Among the vaccine news they say parents need to know:
Pertussis vaccine. Children ages 7 through 10 who aren't fully vaccinated against pertussis (whooping cough), including children never vaccinated or with an unknown vaccination status, should get a single dose of the Tdap vaccine, Meissner says. Parents may mistakenly think whooping cough is a disease of the past, he says, but that's not so, as last year's outbreaks of whooping cough suggest.
Teens 13 through 18 who haven't gotten the Tdap vaccine yet should get a dose, followed by a booster of tetanus and diphtheria (Td) every decade.