Hep A, meningitis shots needed for more children, adolescents

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 23, 2006

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The hepatitis A shot should be given to all children between the ages of 12 months and 23 months, regardless of the disease's prevalence where they reside. And the fourth dose of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, DTaP, may be given as early as 12 months if the third dose was given at least six months earlier and it seems unlikely that the child will be returning to get the shot at 15 months when it is preferred, according to the recommended childhood and adolescent immunization schedule published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics this month.

The schedule is revised annually. New recommendations also were made for pre-teens and adolescents. This age group now should receive the meningococcal conjugate vaccine along with a single dose of the combination shot of tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.

Public health officials hope these new recommendations will further reduce the burden of these diseases. "We can now protect children and adolescents from more diseases than at any time in our history," said Anne Schuchat, MD, director of the CDC National Immunization Program.

Hepatitis A shots were previously recommended only for children in high-prevalence areas. The age requirement for the four dose of DTaP is being relaxed because of increasing recognition that too many children are missing doses. The adolescent recommendations incorporate into the schedule new vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration within the past year.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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