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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).Â 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.Â 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.Â Rotavirus is a virus that
causes severe diarrhea in babies and young children.Â 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.Â Older
children, adolescents and adults should also receive a catch-up second
dose if they previously had received only one dose.Â 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.Â 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.Â 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.