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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 and then rapidly spread to the rest of the body and/or to the brain (meningitis). Symptoms progress very rapidly and can be 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. There are two types of meningococcal vaccine:

  • Meningococcal conjugate ACWY vaccine (Menactra/Menveo) -- generally administered at 11-12 years of age with a booster at 16 years of age
  • Meningococcal B vaccine (Trumenba/Bexsero) -- generally administered as a three-dose series between 16-18 years of age

Since the two vaccine formulations are protective against different strains of Meningococcus, they should not be substituted one for each other.

  • Who should receive the vaccine:
    • Children 2 years of age or older in high-risk groups (those who have had their spleen removed, those with a suppressed immune system)
    • Adolescents 11-12 years of age and unvaccinated adolescents entering high school, college students, military recruits, and those travelling to epidemic areas should receive meningococcal conjugate ACWY vaccine.
    • Current recommendations for receipt of meningococcal B vaccine include those in a community with active disease or an area of high likelihood of exposure. Routine vaccination to the general age appropriate population is not currently recommended.
  • Side effects: Pain, swelling, and redness at site of injection may occur one to two days following immunization.

Rotavirus Vaccine

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two oral vaccines to help prevent rotavirus infection. Rotavirus is the most frequent cause of infectious diarrhea throughout the world and also in the United States. RotaTeq and Rotarix are both oral vaccines that have been shown to be effective and safe. Rotarix is administered at 2 and 4 months of age. RotaTeq is administered at 2, 4, and 6 months of age.

Clinical trials have found that both vaccines prevent approximately 75% 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. Neither RotaTeq nor Rotarix have not shown an increased risk of intussusception when compared with placebo in clinical trials.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/29/2016

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