August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently issued its annual update of vaccination guidelines. The new recommendations emphasize the importance of vaccinating children and teens to protect against serious illnesses, such as influenza, pneumonia, and meningitis, as well as other deadly diseases.
The recommendations for 2011 are very similar to those from 2010, but the release of the revised schedule reminds parents to ensure that their children’s immunizations are up to date. Dr. Michael Brady, the chairman of the AAP infectious disease committee, points out that “immunizations have been the most effective medical preventive measure ever developed, but some people who live in the United States right now don’t appreciate how tremendously protected they’ve been because of vaccines. There are still children around the world dying of measles and polio. The vaccination schedules are designed to get vaccines to the child before they are at the greatest risk.”
The updated schedule recommends that all children between the ages of 6 months and 18 years get an annual flu shot. Additionally, children between the ages of 6 months and 8 years who are being vaccinated for the first time, as well as those who have had only one dose of a previous flu vaccine, need two doses of the seasonal flu vaccine.
The AAP recommends the following:
- Children and teens should receive the recommended whooping cough vaccines.
- Children ages 7 to 10 years who have not been previously vaccinated against the disease need a single does of the tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, and Tdap vaccines.
- Teens from 13 to 18 years who never received the Tdap should get the vaccine as well as a Td booster every 10 years.
- All girls should receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, which can be given between the ages of 9 and 18 years in a three-dose series.
- Children under the age of 5 should get the haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) vaccine to prevent the bacterial disease.
- Routine childhood vaccines, including those for the rotavirus, polio virus, MMR, and varicella, should be received at the suggested ages.
Dr. Peter Pate, a family dentist in Atlanta, Georgia, strives to help his patients lead healthy lives. For information about how to keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy to prevent the onset of serious oral and overall health conditions, call Dentistry in Buckhead at (404) 266-9424.