Vaccinations are one of the best means to prevent disease and malaise in babies and children.
(Click the picture to download the latest PDF vaccination schedule for babies – June 2011.)
As of 2011, there are currently 16 diseases that children are being vaccinated against. They are measles, mumps and rubella, hepatitis B, diptheria, pertussis and tetanus, poliomyelitis, Haemophilus influenzae type b, hepatitis A, rotavirus, varicella, pneumococcal disease, meningocooccal disease and influenza. Human papillomavirus HPV vaccine has been recommended routinely for girls 11~12 years of age with catch-up for females up to 26. The HPV4 vaccine is available for boys 11~18 for the prevention of genital warts. All children in the United States are strongly recommended to be vaccinated for 15 diseases listed above while the HPV vaccine is a permissive recommendation.
There are two committees that define the vaccination policies for children. They are the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Committee on Infectious Diseases (COID)of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Together with the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), they annually issue a harmonized childhood and adolescent immunization schedule.
Additional vaccinations may be recommended for children when traveling to other countries and for special circumstances such as children who have conditions for high risk pneumococcol disease.
Vaccinations for pre-term babies (preemies) are generally similar to full-term infants. The only one exception is the birth dose for the Hepatitis B virus. The HepB vaccine should be deferred for 30 days in infants weighing less than 2 kg at birth born to mothers who are HBs antigen negative. If the baby’s weight is greater or equal to 2 kg then the regular vaccination schedule may be given. All preterm, low birth weight infants born to mothers who are Hepatitis B anitgen positive should receive HepB Immunoglobin and a HepB vaccine within 12 hours of birth. Those infants should also receive an additional 3 doses of vaccine starting at 30 days of age.
There are precautions and contraindications for babies receiving vaccinations. Allergic reactions due to prior vaccinations is the most important contraindication. Babies and children with severe acute illness are normally deferred vaccinations until they get better. However children with mild illness may be vaccinated under doctors discretion.
There have been unfortunate misconceptions concerning vaccinations causing diseases like autism and diabetes. In August of 2011, the Institute of Medicine released its comprehensive safety review in 17 years on 8 common childhood vaccines. It states that there is no link between vaccinations and autism, no correlation with diabetes type 1 and vaccines and no link to Bell’s Palsy and asthma with flu shots. Some other concerns about vaccines containing mercury were true but currently no childhood vaccines contain mercury.
Getting your baby vaccinated is very important and is one of the biggest responsibility of a parent. Many children are underimmunized as a result from not receiving the vaccines at the recommended dates. If one of your vaccines are missed, your doctor have the protocol to make up for the vaccine.
Vaccinations and immunizations from diseases are one of the single most important public health policy that has made a great impact in protecting the people of the United States. By all means, it is very important for the health provider to explain the importance of getting your children vaccinated. Parents can find additional information on vaccinations and immunizations by downloading a PDF file found here – Resource Links for Information on Vaccinations and Immunizations.