ATLANTA Updated immunization recommendations for childhood influenza and adolescent meningococcal vaccinations are included in the 2008 Childhood and Adolescent Immunization Schedules that was released jointly Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
"Although we can now protect more children against more vaccine-preventable diseases than ever before, the immunization schedules can be confusing for parents and physicians," noted Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at CDC. "The updates to this year’s schedule help clarify our vaccination recommendations and, therefore, should make it easier for parents to protect their children against potentially serious diseases."
The childhood schedule expands the recommendation for the nasal spray influenza vaccine, FluMist, to include children from 2 to 4 years of age who don’t have a history of asthma or wheezing. The vaccine, which contains a weakened form of the live virus and is sprayed in the nose, had previously been limited to healthy children 5 years of age and older and healthy adults up to age 50.
"We know that vaccinating children protects them against flu," Schuchat. "This recommendation gives parents another choice when vaccinating their children."
The new schedule also clarifies and updates recommendations for use of pneumococcal vaccine. Healthy children 24 through 59 months of age who are incompletely vaccinated should receive one dose of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV4). Children age two and older with underlying medical conditions should receive pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV).