CDC Updates Kids' Vaccine Schedule
Changes Cover Whooping Cough, Meningitis, Hepatitis
Jan. 5, 2006 -- The CDC has updated its vaccine recommendations for kids and
The changes include new vaccines. "Thanks to new vaccines, we can now
protect children and adolescents from more diseases than at any time in our
history," says the CDC's Anne Schuchat, MD, in a news release.
"In almost every case, vaccines are the best and most effective way to
prevent the harm that is caused by these infectious diseases," she says.
Schuchat directs the CDC's National Immunization Program.
Here's what you need to know about the new recommendations for children and
Whooping Cough Booster for Preteens
A new booster vaccine for whooping cough (pertussis), tetanus, and
diphtheria should be given to the following groups:
- All 11- and 12-year-olds who completed earlier vaccinations and haven't
gotten a tetanus-diphtheria booster shot.
- All 13- to 18-year-olds who completed childhood vaccinations but didn't get
the booster shot when they were 11 or 12.
The new vaccine replaces a previous booster shot that didn't cover whooping
cough. Whooping cough is highly contagious disease of the respiratory tract.
It's most dangerous in babies, but it's been on the rise in adults.
Children and teens aged 7-18 who missed childhood vaccines can take the
whooping cough/tetanus/diphtheria shot to catch up or for regularly scheduled
boosters. The CDC recommends waiting five years after the last
tetanus/diphtheria dose before using the whooping cough/tetanus/diphtheria
vaccine as a booster dose.
The CDC first announced its recommendation about the new booster vaccine in July.
Meningitis Vaccine for Adolescents
A meningitis vaccine called Menactra, which was approved by the FDA a year
ago, is also recommended for:
- All 11- and 12-year-olds
- Adolescents entering high school who haven't already gotten the
- All college freshmen living in dorms (who have the additional option of
getting a different meningitis vaccine)
- Other adolescents who choose to get the vaccine to reduce their risk
The CDC first announced its Menactra recommendations in May.
In October 2005, the FDA, the CDC, and Menactra's maker, Sanofi Pasteur,
warned that five U.S. teens developed a serious neurological
condition called Guillain-Barré syndrome after being vaccinated with
At the time, a Sanofi Pasteur news release stated that there was no proof
that Menactra was responsible for those teens developing Guillain-Barré
Influenza Vaccine for More Kids
Influenza vaccination is now recommended for children who are at least 6
months old and have certain health problems; specifically, those conditions
that can compromise children's respiratory systems or raise the risk of
Hepatitis A Vaccine for 1-Year-Olds
The CDC recommends that all babies get vaccinated against hepatitis A
between 12 and 23 months.
The vaccine is given in two doses. Those doses should be given at least six
months apart, the CDC says.
Hepatitis B Vaccine for Almost All Babies
The CDC is emphasizing the importance of vaccinating infants against
The vaccine can only be delayed "in rare circumstances," the CDC
Delays are only permitted if a doctor orders the vaccine to be withheld and
the baby's medical record includes a lab report showing that the mother has
tested negative for hepatitis B.