Health Groups Release New Immunization Schedules

Children and adolescents can now be protected against more diseases than

ever before, according to the 2007 Childhood and Adolescent Immunization

Schedules released jointly today by the Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the

American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).  The 2007 schedules

include new immunization recommendations for rotavirus, human

papillomavirus (HPV), varicella (chickenpox) and childhood influenza.

For the first time, the recommended childhood and adolescent

immunization schedule will be divided into two schedules: one for

children from birth to six years of age and a second for those seven to

18 years of age.  This change reflects the growing importance of

ensuring timely adolescent vaccination.

"These new schedules reflect the great strides we are making to protect

children and adolescents against serious diseases, including cancer,"

said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

"We are providing a separate schedule for those seven to 18 years of age

because of an increasing number of vaccines being developed to protect

adolescents against disease."

The 2007 childhood schedule includes new recommendations for oral

rotavirus vaccine, varicella vaccine and influenza vaccination.

Infants are now recommended to receive three doses of oral rotavirus

vaccine at two, four and six months of age.  Rotavirus is a virus that

causes severe diarrhea in babies and young children.  It is responsible

for more that 200,000 emergency room visits, 55,000 to 70,0000

hospitalizations, and 20 to 60 deaths each year in the United States.

Children four years to six years of age are now recommended to receive a

second dose of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine to further protect against

the disease. About 15 to 20 percent of children who received only one

dose of varicella vaccine are not fully protected against chickenpox.

The first dose is recommended at 12 to 15 months of age.  Older

children, adolescents and adults should also receive a catch-up second

dose if they previously had received only one dose.  Before the

licensure of varicella vaccine, and 150 deaths from complications of

varicella each year in the United States.

The childhood influenza vaccination recommendation has expanded to

include children 24 months to five years old, as well as their household

contacts and caregivers. The previous recommendation was for children

six months through 23 months.  Now children from 6 months through 59

months are recommended for annual influenza vaccination. This

recommendation was expanded because influenza often causes serious

illness in children 2 to 5 years old. The number of emergency room and

healthcare provider visits related to influenza is higher for 2 to 5

year olds than for healthy older children. Children six to 24 months of

age are nearly as likely to be hospitalized for complications from

influenza as adults 65 and older.

The 2007 Recommended Immunization Schedule for children and adolescents

also recommended that girls age 11 to 12 years of age receive a

three-dose series of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, with the second

dose two months after the first dose and the third dose at least four

months after the second dose. The recommendation also allows for

vaccination of girls beginning at nine years old as well as vaccination

of girls and women 13-26 years old. HPV is the leading cause of cervical

cancer in women.  More than 20 million men and women in the United

States are currently infected with HPV and there are 6.2 million new

infections each year.

Source: CDC

 

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