February 02, 2016
2 min read

CDC publishes updated 2016 vaccine schedules for children and teens

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The CDC has published its 2016 immunization schedule guidelines for children and adolescents aged 18 years and younger, including the addition of a “permissive recommendation” for serogroup B meningococcal vaccine and the addition of a “blue bar” signifying its status as a category B recommendation.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) in October 2015 voted unanimously to approve the 2016 schedule updates. In addition to the ACIP, the vaccine schedules are approved by the AAP, the AAFP and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

“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,” Nancy E. Messonnier, MD, CAPT USPHS, of the meningitis and vaccine-preventable diseases branch at the CDC, told Infectious Diseases in Children during the vote in October. “Part of that will be making sure that people understand the different bars and what they mean.”

The 2016 guideline figures, footnotes and tables are published on the CDC immunization schedule website. The CDC advises health care providers to use figures, tables and the combined footnotes together. Printable versions of the 2016 immunization schedules for children and adolescents are available at the schedule website.

The ACIP each year reviews the recommended vaccine schedule for persons aged 0 through 18 years to ensure guidelines reflect current recommendations for FDA-licensed vaccines.

Changes from the previous schedules in the 2016 figures include:

  • changes in vaccine order to group vaccines by the recommended age of administration and the order of the vaccines was also changed within the footnotes;
  • addition of a “purple bar” for the Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine among children aged 5 to 18 years, with the added recommendation to vaccinate certain high-risk children in this age group;
  • a “purple bar” for the human papillomavirus vaccine, with a note to vaccinate children aged 9 to 10 years who are at high risk, including those with a history of sexual abuse;
  • a new row for Meningococcal B vaccine, including a “purple bar” along with the recommendation to vaccinate certain persons at high risk aged 10 years and older; and
  • regarding the “catch-up immunization schedule for persons aged 4 months through 18 years who start late or who are more than 1 month behind,” Tdap/Td now appears on the list of possible previous Tdap vaccines.

The CDC also published changes to its 2016 immunization schedule guidelines for adults aged 18 years and older.

According to the CDC, health care providers should be aware that changes in recommendations for specific vaccines can occur between annual updates. – by Jason Laday

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