2012 vaccination schedules published for children, adults

March 1, 2012

The 2012 vaccination schedules for children, adolescents, and adults have been released, with changes to the recommendations for meningococcal and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations in children and in hepatitis B vaccinations in adults.

The 2012 vaccination schedules for children, adolescents, and adults have been released, with changes to the recommendations for meningococcal and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations in children and in hepatitis B vaccinations in adults.

One of the biggest changes is the new recommendation that all boys aged 11 through 21 receive the HPV vaccine (Gardisil, Merck) in a 3-dose series to protect against genital warts, which in turn can prevent some cancers. This vaccination series can be given to boys as young as age 9 years old. Routine HPV immunization previously had been recommended only for girls and women as a prevention for HPV-related cervical cancer. In addition, men up to age 26 years who engage in homosexual behavior should receive 3 courses of HPV vaccine.

Quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Menactra, Sanofi Pasteur) can now be administered to children as young as 9 months if they are at increased risk of developing meningococcal disease or if they will be traveling to countries with epidemic disease. Menveo (Novartis), another conjugate meningococcal vaccine, can be used in children aged 2 and older. Routine meningococcal immunization should start at age 11 or 12, with a booster shot at age 16.

Pregnant women can be immunized against pertussis with the adult tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine after the 20th week of pregnancy if they have not already received it. This timing allows the mother's antibodies to pass to the fetus. Earlier recommendations required waiting until after the baby was born. Healthcare personnel should receive 1 dose of Tdap if they have not already had it.

Influenza vaccine is now recommended for everyone aged 6 months and up. It is no longer contraindicated for people who are allergic to eggs, but the inactivated vaccine should be used in these individuals.

Guides to the new recommendations are available at the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/.