Magazine article American Nurse Today

CDC Publishes Updates to Immunization Schedules for Children and Adults

Magazine article American Nurse Today

CDC Publishes Updates to Immunization Schedules for Children and Adults

Article excerpt

Vaccines are known as one of the greatest achievements in public health over the last century. And each year, it seems more vaccines are introduced, or their uses expanded, to protect more people from dangerous and deadly diseases. It can be a lot to keep up with!

That is why each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes clinical "schedules" for vaccines that indicate which vaccines to give, at what intervals, to which age groups, and for which conditions. The immunization schedules are a tremendous resource for practitioners in the field to make vaccinating children, adolescents, and adults a little easier. All vaccine recommendations on the schedule represent the opinion of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which is an expert panel of clinicians and scientists (including nurses) that makes evidence-based recommendations for vaccine policy.

The 2013 immunization schedule publication represents an exciting first for ANA. This is the first time that the CDC has published the schedules in a nursing journal, whereas they are routinely published in three medical journals. Nurses have an impact on immunization rates and attitudes, and publication of immunization in nursing journals alongside medical journals is a testament to the importance of that impact.

2013 revisions to schedules for children

For 2013, the schedules for children ages 0-18 years, and adults ages 19-65+ years, had several changes to reflect ACIP recommendations and other suggested modifications. In the children's schedule, a significant change was combining the schedules for children ages 0-6 years and adolescents 7-18 years, for ease of use. This was particularly important since there is greater emphasis on adolescent vaccination. Color-coded bars indicate the type of recommendation (i.e., routine vs. high risk patients only), and new arrows were added to certain bars to reflect the need to vaccinate across that age span. Other changes in individual vaccines are for meningococcal conjugate vaccine, which was recently licensed for infants as young as 6 weeks, and Hepatitis A.

There were revisions to the footnotes in the childhood schedule as well. Footnotes in the schedules are an important clinical guide to the details of a vaccination recommendation, including interval spacing, revaccination, and guidance for vaccinating patients with high-risk conditions. For the childhood schedule, changes included a revised, standardized formatting for each vaccine. …

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