There were no surprises this year, but the new immunization schedule does formalize some recommendations that were made last year, which are going to mean some extra shots for most kids.
Included in the new schedule are the use of the new oral rotavirus vaccine for infants, a second dose of the chicken pox vaccine when kids get their shots to start kindergarten, and routine use of the HPV vaccine for pre-teen and teen girls.
The only other change in the immunization schedule was that the age range for routine flu shots for young children was expanded from 6 to 23 months to 6 to 59 months.
RotaTeqRotaTeq is a rotavirus vaccine that prevents severe cases of rotavirus gastroenteritis, which can include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and dehydration.
RotaTeq is an oral, liquid, live vaccine and the 2007 immunization schedule states that it should be given 'to all infants at ages 2, 4, and 6 months of age.'
Chicken Pox Booster ShotBefore Varivax, the chicken pox vaccine, began to be routinely given in 1995, chicken pox was a very common childhood illness, that even when it wasn't serious, still left children miserable for at least a week. And unfortunately, sometimes these chicken pox infections did become serious, leading to hospitalization and even death.
The chicken pox vaccine has been highly effective at preventing chicken pox infections, especially serious ones, but unfortunately, some kids do get breakthrough chicken pox infections even though they have been vaccinated. To provide increased protection against these breakthrough infections, it is now recommended that children get a second dose of the chicken pox vaccine when they are 4 to 6 years old.
Older kids will need to be caught up with their booster shot too. And of course, if your child had a natural chicken pox infection, then he won't need a chicken pox booster shot.
HPV VaccineGardasil is the new vaccine against the HPV or Human Papillomavirus. The Gardasil vaccine protects recipients against 4 types of HPV, including the two types that cause most cervical cancers and the two types that cause the most genital warts.
The latest immunization schedule recommends Gardasil as a 3 dose series 'for girls 11 to 12 years of age, with catch-up immunization of girls 13 to 18 years of age.'
Keeping Up With The New RecommendationsSince all of these changes to the immunization schedule were expected, many pediatricians have already incorporated them into their practice, so your kids may have already received these vaccines.
Others, because of how expensive these vaccines are, especially Gardasil, are still waiting until insurance companies provide better coverage and actually pay for them. Having these vaccines in the official immunization schedule should help more insurance companies provide coverage for Gardasil and RotaTeq.
1Recommended Immunization Schedules for Children and AdolescentsUnited States, 2007. PEDIATRICS Vol. 119 No. 1 January 2007, pp. 207-208