Vaccination Organization: New Schedule Released

Annual immunization schedule shows when children are due to receive each vaccine

(RxWiki News) Parents don't want their kid stuck home sick from school, or worse, in the hospital. Sticking to the vaccine schedule may help keep children happy and healthy.

In its yearly vaccine schedule this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasized how children may avoid the flu through a vaccine and noted which children are at high risk for measles, mumps and rubella.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) releases an immunization schedule every year, which shows the vaccines anyone younger than 18 needs to be protected from certain infectious diseases. This schedule largely remains the same from year to year. However, the CDC makes minor changes annually.

"The extensive measles outbreak in California shows that these diseases are not rare and can spread quickly if children are not immunized," said Dr. Elizabeth Baorto, MD, the Director of Pediatric Infectious Disease, Atlantic Health System. "These are diseases that have potentially devastating consequences for children and once a child gets one of these diseases, there is often no good treatment. Therefore, it is best and safest to prevent them by vaccinating."

Vaccines are medicines, usually in shot form, that help prevent illnesses by encouraging the immune system to fight off the disease. A vaccine contains a weakened or non-infectious version of a disease, or a protein from the disease that prompts the body's protective response. Vaccines have helped to make certain diseases that used to be common, like polio, very rare.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents take their kids to the doctor for vaccinations according to the schedule to avoid many illnesses, from the flu to polio.

Parents should always speak to a doctor about the safety of vaccines.

The CDC's new vaccine calendar emphasizes that both the flu shot and nasal spray vaccine are available for children ages 2 and older. The 2015 schedule also says that some children ages 2 through 8 may need two doses of the flu vaccine each year.

"The first dose 'primes' the immune system; the second dose provides immune protection," according to the CDC.

Also, the new calendar has designated infants who travel outside the US a high-risk group for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). This means that infants who fall into that category should receive the vaccine before they turn 1 year old, which is the typical age to receive the MMR vaccine. Although they are no longer common in the US, measles, mumps and rubella are more prevalent in other parts of the world.

The 2015 vaccine schedule was published Jan. 26 in the journal Pediatrics.

Review Date: 
January 23, 2015