What's new with the vaccine recommendations this year?

Pregnant teens should receive the Tdap vaccine for each pregnancy to protect themselves and their babies against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, preferably during week 27 through week 36 of gestation, regardless of time since previous Td or Tdap vaccine, according to new vaccine recommendations released last week.

Each year, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Medicine and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists release up dated recommendations and schedules for routine vaccinations of children aged 0 to 18 years of age. 

The combined recommendations this year cover 14 separate vaccine preparations that provide protection for 17 separate diseases. Some of these immunizations, such as the diphtheria, tetanus and polio, have been available for decades. Other vaccines such as those for human papillomavirus (HPV) and rotavirus are relatively new to the vaccine schedules. The recommended changes vary from year to year. 

In some years, new vaccines are approved and recommended; in other years, clarifications, additions or changes are made to existing guidelines. Other major changes for this year include the following:

  • The recommendations for pneumococcal vaccine (pneumonia vaccine) have been expanded to include children up to 5 years of age with a variety of chronic diseases and cancer.
  • New recommendations for the use of the meningococcal vaccine (bacterial meningitis) in young children with altered immunity as well as older patients.

To determine how these new recommendations will affect your child, you should consult your child’s healthcare provider. 

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