It seems like Paul Offits vision of 100,000 vaccines for every child might be a reality someday.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
By Miranda Hitti
The CDC has updated its vaccine recommendations for kids and teens.
The changes include new vaccines. “Thanks to new vaccines, we can now protect children and adolescents from more diseases than at any time in our history,” says the CDC’s Anne Schuchat, MD, in a news release.
“In almost every case, vaccines are the best and most effective way to prevent the harm that is caused by these infectious diseases,” she says. Schuchat directs the CDC’s National Immunization Program.
Here’s what you need to know about the new recommendations for children and teens.
Vaccination Delays Put Many Children at Risk
Whooping Cough Booster for Preteens
A new booster vaccine for whooping cough (pertussis), tetanus, and diphtheria should be given to the following groups:
--All 11- and 12-year-olds who completed earlier vaccinations and haven’t gotten a tetanus-diphtheria booster shot.
--All 13- to 18-year-olds who completed childhood vaccinations but didn’t get the booster shot when they were 11 or 12.
The new vaccine replaces a previous booster shot that didn’t cover whooping cough. Whooping cough is highly contagious disease of the respiratory tract. It’s most dangerous in babies, but it’s been on the rise in adults.
Children and teens aged 7-18 who missed childhood vaccines can take the whooping cough/tetanus/diphtheria shot to catch up or for regularly scheduled boosters. The CDC recommends waiting five years after the last tetanus/diphtheria dose before using the whooping cough/tetanus/diphtheria vaccine as a booster dose.
The CDC first announced its recommendation about the new booster vaccine in July.
Meningitis Vaccine for Adolescents
A meningitis vaccine called Menactra, which was approved by the FDA a year ago, is also recommended for:
--All 11- and 12-year-olds
--Adolescents entering high school who haven’t already gotten the vaccine
--All college freshmen living in dorms (who have the additional option of getting a different meningitis vaccine)
--Other adolescents who choose to get the vaccine to reduce their risk
The CDC first announced its Menactra recommendationsin May.
In October 2005, the FDA, the CDC, and Menactra’s maker, Sanofi Pasteur, warned that five U.S. teens developed a serious neurological conditioncalled Guillain-Barré syndrome after being vaccinated with Menactra.
At the time, a Sanofi Pasteur news release stated that there was no proof that Menactra was responsible for those teens developing Guillain-Barré syndrome.
New Children's Vaccine Targets 4 Diseases
Influenza Vaccine for More Kids
Influenza vaccination is now recommended for children who are at least 6 months old and have certain health problems; specifically, those conditions that can compromise children's respiratory systems or raise the risk of choking.
Hepatitis A Vaccine for 1-Year-Olds
The CDC recommends that all babies get vaccinated against hepatitis A between 12 and 23 months.
The vaccine is given in two doses. Those doses should be given at least six months apart, the CDC says.
Hepatitis B Vaccine for Almost All Babies
The CDC is emphasizing the importance of vaccinating infants against hepatitis B.
The vaccine can only be delayed “in rare circumstances,” the CDC states.
Delays are only permitted if a doctor orders the vaccine to be withheld and the baby’s medical record includes a lab report showing that the mother has tested negative for hepatitis B.
Learn More About Hepatitis
By Miranda Hitti, reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
SOURCES: CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Jan. 6, 2006; vol 54: pp Q1-Q4. News release, CDC.
I would direct readers to Michael Belkin's story about the hepatitis B vaccine, which claimed the life of his infant daughter. It can be found here:
This is a vaccine that infants should not be receiving, except in the unlikely event that the mother has tested positive for hep b. Since women are routinely tested for hep B when pregnant, there is no need to recommend this fraught vaccine for all newborns.
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