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Updated Vaccine Schedule for Children, Teens

Annual Revision Addresses Whooping Cough, Influenza, Pneumococcal Vaccines

Recommended Vaccines: What Parents Need to Know continued...

Influenza vaccine. The new schedule gives guidance for whether a child needs one or two doses of this vaccine for seasonal flu, says Bernstein. The decision is based on the child's history of getting the monovalent 2009 H1N1 vaccine. If a child is between 6 months and 8 years and is being vaccinated against flu for the first time (or was vaccinated for the first time during the previous flu season but only got one dose) he or she should get two doses, separated by at least four weeks.

A 6-month to 8-year-old child who received no doses of the 2009 H1N1 vaccine or if the dosing schedule is unknown should receive two doses of the 2010-2011 seasonal influenza vaccine.

Bernstein says parents are often unaware that pediatricians have been recommending flu vaccine for everyone 6 months old and older.

HPV vaccine. Human papillomavirus or HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted virus and is linked to cervical cancers and genital warts. Under the new schedule, the HPV4 vaccine (the type recommended for prevention of genital warts in girls) may be given in three dosesto boys aged 9 to 18.

Haemophilus influenzae type b. The vaccine is already recommended for children under age 5 to prevent serious disease caused by bacteria. Under the updated schedule, it should be considered in previously unvaccinated children aged 5 and older if they have sickle cell disease, leukemia, or HIV, or if their spleen was removed.

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine 13. "We have moved from PCV 7, the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine that protects against 7 serotypes or stains, to PCV 13," Bernstein says. It protects against more strains of bacteria that cause infections such as serious bacterial pneumonia and meningitis, he says. Under the new schedule, a single supplemental dose of PCV13 is advised for all children aged 14 through 59 months who have gotten their PCV7 shots on schedule previously. A single dose of the PCV13 is advised for kids 60 through 71 months with underlying medical condition who already got PCV7 on schedule, among other recommendations about the new vaccine.

Other Recommended Vaccines

Besides these vaccines, the AAP schedule covers recommendations on other childhood vaccines, including rotavirus vaccine, polio virus, MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), and varicella. Parents can ask their pediatrician if their child is up to date on these and other immunizations.

Monitoring of vaccine safety is continuous, Bernstein says. "Even though a vaccine is licensed, we don't stop monitoring its safety and effectiveness," he says.

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