(RxWiki News) One of the best ways to protect children against a wide range of serious diseases is to be sure they are up to date on their immunizations.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published their updated recommendations for the childhood vaccine schedule. Most of the changes involve providing additional information about certain vaccines for special populations.
In addition, the vaccine that prevents a serious brain and spinal cord disease can now be given to children earlier.
"Discuss the CDC immunization schedule with your doctor."
The statement, authored by Iyabode Akinsanya-Beysolow, MD, a member of the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), updates the recommendations for children's vaccines in 2014.
Any changes that get made to the recommended schedule of immunization are approved by ACIP as well as by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
The schedule for 2014 includes several changes from the schedule that was used in 2013. One of the changes relates to the meningococcal vaccine, called MenACWY–CRM.
This vaccine protects against many of the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease, which can develop into several illnesses including meningitis. Meningitis involves an infection of the spinal cord and brain and can be fatal. The meningococcal vaccine can now be administered to children as early as 2 months old.
Other changes relate to providing additional information to parents and health care providers regarding certain vaccines. For example, the recommendations related to doses of the flu vaccine for children have been clarified.
The new schedule also provides information on when to give the pneumococcal vaccine to individuals who have high-risk conditions. These conditions range from HIV or other immune disorders to those with blood conditions, cancers or organ transplants.
The new schedule also identifies those individuals who may be at a higher risk for infection with hepatitis A, a disease in the liver. These individuals include those who travel to countries with high levels of hepatitis A, those with clotting disorders or a chronic liver disease, and those who may have close contact with a child who is adopted from overseas.
For more information on the childhood immunization schedule, parents should consult the CDC website.
The statement was published February 3 in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The work of ACIP is supported by the CDC.