The latest childhood and adolescent immunization schedule, published this week in the journal Pediatrics, aims to clarify and simplify the recommended vaccine regimen for children to avoid preventable diseases and remain healthy.
According to USA Today, the updated schedule differs substantially from the 2012 edition, beginning with a redesigned layout.
H. Cody Meissner—a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Tufts Medical Center and a contributor to the new schedule—said the new layout allows for easier reading and provides additional space for clarifications in the footnotes. In addition, a single schedule for children up to age 18 replaces separate schedules for children age 6 and younger, and children between ages seven and 18.
Another key change in the updated vaccination schedule is a recommendation for pregnant women and teens to receive a Tdap shot, a combination vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis during their first and subsequent pregnancies. The vaccination provides the woman and her infant protection against whooping cough.
The new schedules—which reflect recommendations adopted by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)—have been approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), MedPage Today reports.
Separately, ACIP published the adult immunization schedule for 2013 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The schedule—which also was approved by AAFP, ACOG, the American College of Physicians, and the American College of Nurse Midwives—includes the Tdap vaccination recommendation for pregnant women and advises routine vaccination of adults over age 65 (Healy, USA Today, 1/28; Neale, MedPage Today, 1/28).