Several new vaccines have been licensed and approved for use within the past year - extending the immunization period from childhood into adolescence. Discussing these new vaccines, changes in the immunization schedule, and the impact on patients and physicians was part of the seminar, 'Vaccine Update: From Here to Eternity,' which was held during the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in Atlanta, Ga.
The seminar was conducted by Larry Pickering, MD, FAAP, Senior Advisor to the Director of the National Center on Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Carol Baker, MD, FAAP, Professor of Pediatrics, Microbiology and Immunology, and Head of the Section for Infectious Disease in the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. The presenters gave an update on vaccines currently available as well as a look into the future of immunizations. Specific discussion of three new vaccines was presented: the new human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine for girls and women 9 to 26 years of age, a new combined measles-mumps-rubella-varicella vaccine for one-year-olds, and tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) vaccines for people 11 to 65 years of age. The AAP will be making its official recommendation on the HPV vaccine later this year.
Dr. Pickering stressed that immunizations remain an important part of preventing disease. He noted, 'The organisms that cause these diseases, such as mumps, measles and pertussis (whooping cough), have not gone away. If we are not vigilant in continuing our aggressive immunization campaign, these diseases are going to come back.'