Parents: Here’s the updated vaccine schedule from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Parents: Here’s the updated vaccine schedule from the American Academy of Pediatrics

While vaccination rates are reasonably high in the Mid-South, in my experience alone I’ve seen everything from the mumps to pertussis to meningitis—diseases that can be prevented through immunization.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently announced their updates to the recommended child and adolescent immunization schedule for 2019. This schedule is updated on an annual basis and approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

What are the 2019 updates?

The AAP schedules include recommended vaccines that have been proven to be safe and effective at preventing specific diseases from birth to 18 years of age. The 2019 schedule modifications include:

  • Influenza: The flu mist can now be used in age appropriate and health status appropriate children ages 24 months and older.
  • Hepatitis A: Infants 6 through 11 months are recommended to have the Hep A vaccine prior to visiting another country.
  • Tdap: Pregnant teens can now take the vaccine.
  • HPV: Pregnant teens are recommended to delay getting the vaccine.
  • Tdap and DTaP: Children who received a dose of either vaccine at 7 through 10 years should still receive the routine dose of Tdap at 11 through 12 years.

These minor changes have been made to cover the gaps in the under-vaccinated, and more can be expected to follow if the trend of opting out of vaccination increases.

Why are vaccines important?

Measles had all but disappeared in the United States, but we’re currently seeing outbreaks in pockets of the United States with low vaccination rates. A seemingly common disease, like the flu, might not be fatal to your child, but could very well be fatal to another. Vaccines provide “herd immunity,” protecting more vulnerable children such as infants or those who are immunocompromised.

How does the flu vaccine help kids?

The influenza virus comes in multiple forms and is frequently undergoing mutation. As such, the flu vaccine often gets criticized for not being effective. But the statistics from last year’s 2017 – 18 flu season, the worst flu season in recent record, help to show how effective the flu vaccine can be and how it can save the lives of children.

In the last two years, vaccines have helped prevent 30 percent or more of flu cases.

During the 2017 – 18 flu season, of 180 pediatric deaths from the flu more than 80 percent occurred in unvaccinated children.

Kids who have gotten the vaccine have been shown to not get as sick as their unvaccinated counterparts. It remains important to vaccinate young children and the elderly, as they are at the highest risk of complications from the flu.

See the full 2019 AAP Immunization Schedule here: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/child/0-18yrs-child-combined-schedule.pdf

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