The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a new immunization schedule today, which includes a new approach to vaccinating for pertussis, or whooping cough, as it is more commonly known.
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Pregnant women should get vaccinated to protect infants against whooping cough, AAP says.
To protect babies earlier, the AAP recommends that pregnant women are vaccinated around 27 to 36 weeks gestation with a combination whooping cough, diphtheria, and tetanus vaccine for every single pregnancy.
Why vaccinate pregnant women?
The recommendation to vaccinate pregnant women is partially in response to the growing number of whooping cough cases nationally.
Also, infants are most at risk of contracting whooping cough before they can be immunized themselves, so they are better protected if the mother receives the vaccine during each pregnancy.
What other recommendations should parents know?
Besides the whooping cough vaccine for pregnant women, there are also a couple of minor changes to the schedule for children receiving pneumonia and meningococcal vaccines.
Pediatrician Michael Macknin, MD, says it’s important all children are immunized.
“The important part about the schedule is that children should get their vaccines. There’s nothing we do that’s better for children than give them their immunizations,” he says, adding, “It’s still not too late to get your flu vaccine for this year if you haven’t gotten it.”
Parents should also talk to their child’s pediatrician if they have any questions about the new immunization schedule, which can be found in the journal, Pediatrics.
3 easy-to-read schedules for all ages
Infants and Children (birth through 6 years old) Find easy-to-read formats to print, create an instant schedule for your child, determine missed or skipped vaccines, and prepare for your office visit.
Preteens and Teens (7 through 18 years old) Print this friendly schedule, take a quick quiz, fill out the screening form before your child’s doctor visit, or download a tool to determine vaccines needed.
Adults (19 years and older) Print the easy-to-read adult schedule, take the quiz, or download a tool to determine vaccines needed.
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)