Immunization Schedules for 2009 Released

Flu vaccination recommended for children aged 6 months to 18 years

MONDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Three health groups have released updated immunization schedules that include new influenza vaccination recommendations, according to a report published in the Jan. 2 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The new recommendations are included in the 2009 Childhood and Adolescent Immunization Schedules, released by the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians. The schedules recommend routine annual flu vaccination for children ranging in age from 6 months to 18 years. The previous recommendation called for vaccination of children aged 6 months to 59 months.

The groups also recommend that children younger than 9 who are receiving a flu vaccination for the first time -- or did so the previous season but received only one dose -- should receive two doses of the vaccine four or more weeks apart. They also make recommendations involving rotavirus and human papillomavirus vaccinations.

"Vaccination is the best protection against influenza," Anne Schuchat, M.D., director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease, said in a statement. "This important update to the childhood immunization schedule helps us extend protection from influenza and its complications to all children between the ages of 6 months and 18 years, not just those at highest risk of complications from influenza."

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