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Immunization Schedule, Children (cont.)

Meningococcal Vaccines

Meningococcal infections are most common in close living conditions (such as college dormitories, military barracks, or child-care centers). The infection may invade the bloodstream or the brain (meningitis). Symptoms come on rapidly and can sometimes be quite severe (leading to shock, coma, or death). Meningitis caused by meningococcal bacteria is difficult to distinguish from that of other bacteria that causes meningitis, making the disease more difficult to recognize and treat. Routine immunization in children is not recommended because the infection is rare.

  • Types of meningococcal vaccine:
  • Who gets the vaccine:
    • Children aged 2 years or older in high-risk groups (those who have had their spleen removed, those with suppressed immune system)
    • Adolescents aged 11-12 years and unvaccinated adolescents entering high school
    • College students, military recruits, laboratory workers exposed to meningococcal vaccine components, those traveling to hyperendemic or epidemic areas
  • Side effects: Pain, swelling and redness at site of injection may occur one to two days following immunization.

Rotavirus Vaccine

In February 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved an oral vaccine for rotavirus (RotaTeq). It is currently the only vaccine approved in the United States for prevention of rotavirus gastroenteritis as of the date of this publication. RotaTeq is recommended by the CDC as part of the regularly scheduled vaccines and is administered to all infants in a three-dose series starting in infants 6-12 weeks of age and completing before the infant is 32 weeks of age.

Clinical trials found that RotaTeq prevented 74% of all rotavirus gastroenteritis cases, nearly all severe rotavirus gastroenteritis cases, and nearly all hospitalizations. A previously marketed rotavirus vaccine (RotaShield) was associated with intussusception (blockage of the intestine) and was removed from the market, but RotaTeq did not show an increased risk compared with placebo in clinical trials.

  • First dose: Given between 6-12 weeks of age
  • Second dose: Given 4-10 weeks following the first dose
  • Third dose: Given 4-10 weeks following the second dose (must be given before 32 weeks of age [about 8 months old])
  • Side effects include diarrhea, vomiting, or swollen nasal passages
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/6/2014
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