October 21, 2015
1 min read

ACIP approves updates to 2016 child, adolescent immunization schedule

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The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted unanimously today to approve various updates to the 2016 child and adolescent immunization schedule. Updates included the addition of a “permissive recommendation” for serogroup B meningococcal vaccine, with the addition of a “blue bar” to signify its status as a category B recommendation.

“It’s the first time that we’ve attempted to portray, on this infant schedule, the idea of a permissive recommendation,” Nancy E. Messonnier, MD, CAPT USPHS, of the meningitis and vaccine-preventable diseases branch at the CDC, said during the vote. “One thing that we want to commit to is a more comprehensive look at these schedules and how providers interpret them.

“Our primary audience is providers, and I think as we’ve added more vaccines the schedule has gotten very complicated, and it is now a really good time to relook at that and figure out how to take care of modern technology. Part of that will be making sure that people understand the different bars and what they mean.”

Recommendations for serogroup B meningococcal vaccine, proposed by the committee in June, also were added to the 2016 adult schedule. A Category B recommendation was made for adults aged 16 to 23 years to receive MenB vaccination for short-term protection; however, further issues to maximize protection must be resolved for this age group, the committee said. Other notes and clarifications regarding MenB vaccination were included in the recommendation footnotes.

Some committee members expressed concern over why a recommendation to carry the blue bar from the child and adolescent schedule over to age 23 on the adult schedule, was not added.

“Because the age recommendation straddles both schedules, [the blue bar] needed to be added to both schedules,” Cynthia Pellegrini, senior vice president of public policy and government affairs for the March of Dimes, said during the vote.

Other committee members expressed frustration over the inadequacy of the immunization schedule.

“I think it is not usable and very, very difficult to follow the columns,” Laura E. Riley, MD, associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive medicine at Harvard Medical School, said during the vote. “I think the MenB issue and the ‘blue line’ just highlights the confusion.” – by David Costill & Dave Muoio