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Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor

CDC Updates Childhood Immunization Schedules for 2018

No major changes; just two takeaways for kids.
PUBLISHED ON 02/07/2018

Every year, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) makes tweaks to its annual immunization schedules. While you don’t have to worry about any major overhauls to your child’s routine vaccinations, two key points stand out for babies and kids this year.

First, if there is an outbreak of mumps, any child or adult considered at-risk should receive a third dose of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, in addition to the two already advised by the CDC.

"Hopefully, most of us will not be involved in needing to give the third dose of mumps-containing vaccine because we will not be managing an outbreak," says Margot Savoy, MD, MPH, who works with the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. "Unfortunately, we are seeing ongoing outbreaks of mumps in the US, particularly in settings where people have close, prolonged contact, such as universities and close-knit communities."

Second, the CDC will continue to advise against the nasal spray form of the flu shot, called a live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) for children and adolescents. (As a reminder, everyone over 6 months old is encouraged to get a flu shot.) The organization has not yet decided whether or not bring back LAIV for the 2018/2019 flu season.

In addition to these two advisories, made in tandem with the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the CDC has revised some of the formatting and wording surrounding the immunization schedules to make sure everything is crystal clear. One source of confusion, in particular, was the dashes between ages. Did they mean “between” or “through?”

“If there is an age range saying '12-18 years,' it means 12 years through 18 years," Savoy clarifies. "In other words, a patient who is age 18 and two days should still get the vaccine because that patient is still in their eighteenth year."

You can also expect bulleted lists, a table outlining vaccine abbreviations and larger font in the update guidelines. See them for yourself here.

PHOTO: Getty Images