The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) announced changes to the childhood vaccine schedule this week, Yahoo! News reports. If you vaccinate your children, keep doing what you're doing but with a few small tweaks. Among the new recommendations, published in the journal Pediatrics:
- An H1N1 (aka "swine flu") vaccine for all children 6 months and older.
- An HPV2 (the new cervical cancer vaccine for girls) or the older HPV4 shot for girls at age 11 or 12.
- Boys 9 to 18 should also get the HPV4 vaccine to help prevent genital warts.
- A meningitis booster for high-risk children, specifically those with low immunity.
The one recommendation that might not go over well with children and parents already concerned about too many vaccines: Newer combinations of shots are preferred over single injections. The groups are urging more vaccination combos whenever possible to reduce trips to the doctor and needle pokes.
The growing number of vaccines recommended for babies and children, plus the concern over potentially toxic ingredients, has left many parents worried—especially about any possible link between autism and vaccines. (Note: Studies have ruled out vaccines, specifically the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), as the cause of autism. As Fit Pregnancy has reported in the past, autism is largely genetic, but evidence also points to "triggers" in the environment.)
Well-known pediatrician Robert Sears, M.D., previously shared his insights with Fit Pregnancy on an alternative vaccination schedule, which many doctors have embraced if parents choose to follow it instead in an effort to limit side effects and avoid chemical overload.
Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.