LiveSmart: Vaccinations Protect Children From Birth Through Adolescence

[This piece was written by Mark Osborn, MD, St. Peter’s Hospital’s Chief of Pediatrics and a pediatrician with St. Peter’s Health Center for Children.]

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released updated pediatric immunization schedules for 2017. Changes parents and caregivers should be aware of are in four main areas: HPV, hepatitis B, Tdap, and influenza.

Previously, it was recommended 11- and 12-year-old children receive three doses of the HPV vaccine. The latest data suggests children can begin receiving the vaccine as early as nine, with two doses providing the necessary protection.

Hepatitis B
New to the schedule in 2017 is the recommendation all newborn children receive one dose of the hepatitis B vaccine within 24 hours of birth. Previously, the vaccination was given during the first pediatric office visit. However, studies revealed about 1,000 babies were infected annually because the vaccine was administered too late or not at all. This was a particular issue among infants whose mothers had undiagnosed hepatitis B.

The AAP and CDC now recommend mothers get a dose of Tdap as early as possible in their 27- to 36-week gestational window, in order to pass on maternal antibodies against pertussis to her infant. At the age of 10, the child would then receive a single lifetime dose of Tdap as part of their normal vaccine booster.

Nasally-Administered Influenza Vaccine
Nasally-administered, live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) is no longer recommended for children. Studies have shown over the last three influenza seasons that LAIV has been substantially less effective than the inactivated influenza vaccine, which is given via injection.

New York state law requires all students entering school grades kindergarten through 12 to be vaccinated, or to have a valid waiver, for the following:

  • Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis Booster (DTap for kindergartners, TdaP when the child turns 10)
  • Polio (IPV or OPV)
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Varicella (Chickenpox)

For any young adult over the age of 17, the meningitis vaccine is also recommended, especially if they are heading off to college or a U.S. basic military training center.

It is important to remember:

  • Vaccines are safer and more effective today than ever before. One reason is the naturally occurring additives that help sterilize vaccine fluids.
  • Delaying vaccinations – or spreading them out over time – increases the risk of exposing your child to a serious and possibly life-altering illness.

More information about the need to keep infants and children on schedule for routine vaccinations is at

St. Peter’s Children’s Health Center, 1092 Madison Avenue, Albany, offers a complete range of services for children from newborns to age 18. Services include well-child routine care, sick child exams, school and camp physicals, sports physicals, immunizations, health maintenance and education, and access to other hospital services and referrals to specialists. Call 518-525-2445 for more information or an appointment.

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