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Children's Vaccines Health Center

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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...

Meningococcal vaccine. Meningococcal disease, a serious bacterial illness, is a cause of bacterial meningitis (an infection of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord) in children 2-18. Under previous schedules, this vaccine was routinely given at age 11 or 12, Meissner says. "It was expected immunity would last through age 21," he tells WebMD. But, he says, ''it turns out immunity does not last even five years for most vaccine recipients."

So the new recommendation is to give the first dose at age 11 or 12, as before, then to give the second dose, the booster, at age 16 to 18.

Hepatitis B vaccine. The new schedule gives guidance for when to give this vaccine (which protects against serious liver disease from a form of viral hepatitis) to children who did not receive the recommended dose at birth. Some children are given the first dose of this at birth, some get the first dose at 6-8 weeks, Meissner says. The new schedule sets the minimum age for dose three for the children who did not get the first dose at birth at no earlier than 24 weeks of age.

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.

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