Doctors administering vaccines are urged to follow an immunization timetable prescribed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to get the vaccines’ full effect. As new vaccines receive the thumbs-up from authorities, the timetable is updated yearly, depending on the efficacy of the vaccines.
The 2015 update, Karen Bardossi of Contemporary Pediatrics reports, includes new columns to emphasize schedules for flu vaccines, and vaccination for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) as early as six months for children of traveling families. The timetable comes in two versions, one for doctors and another for parents, and are accessible for free at the CDC website.
One of the major features of the timetable is the catch-up timeline for immunization. Normally, a pediatrician advises against deferring vaccination to the catch-up periods, but there are certain factors that prevent timely immunization. For instance, it’s possible for babies to be born without a working immune system (known as “bubble boys,” after the 2001 comedy movie).
Considering that vaccines are live but weaker versions of the diseases they’re treating, the risk of the vaccines backfiring due to untimely administration is too great. A hepatitis-B shot, for example, must be given at birth and the next dose one to two months later. For those who, for some reason, missed the first two doses, the AAP says newborns can catch up on their shots four months later.
The common American may not know the right time to get a shot, so being on schedule with vaccinations usually depends on the local pediatrician. A Coloradoan living around the Arapahoe County, for example, should consult a pediatrician in Littleton to keep abreast of the right time for his/her children to be immunized.
Under CDC vaccination guidelines, patient screening is always the first step to determine any contraindications, especially from previous vaccinations. Deferral of vaccination in situations, although not generally advised, will be his or her call.
If the vaccines must come immediately, pediatricians are expected to mitigate the pain, which is known to turn off many Americans from getting vaccinated. The most common method is distraction, wherein the doctor draws the patient’s attention away from the needle with music, books, or playing pretend. Recently, feeding sweet liquids prior to vaccination has also proven effective in reducing pain.
Littleton pediatrics practices like Focus on Kids Pediatrics are no strangers to immunization. Parents and their children should see a pediatrician in such practices while the latter are still young to help in bolstering their immune system. After all, those small vials of lifesavers remain the most viable means of defense against a constantly-evolving entity.
(Source: “2015 pediatric immunization schedule issued,” Contemporary Pediatrics, February 10, 2015)