February 09, 2016

The Centers for Disease Control just released updated guidelines for vaccination, as they do every year. And, once again, there has been some difficulty interpreting the new information. The biggest area of confusion is the difference between the recommendations which apply only to certain high-risk groups of children and what is recommended for all children. In fact, there is not a single change in the schedule that applies to all kids this year compared to last. The entire schedule is exactly the same.

What has changed is some vaccine doses for certain high-risk groups:

1. HPV vaccine was not changed to 9 years of age. This nine-year-old schedule is only advised for children who have been sexually abused or assaulted. The CDC says that the series may be started at age 9 for any child if anyone so chooses, but still holds to the standard 11-12 year old recommendation.

2. Meningococcal B vaccine was added to the schedule, but only for high-risk kids with certain medical or immune problems. This is a different vaccine than the current Meningococcal A,C, W, Y-strain vaccine given at 11-12 and 16 years.

Misinterpretations can be clarified by understanding the color codes on the schedule and reading the footnotes underneath. There are four levels of recommendation: 1. Routine vaccines for all children, 2. Catch-up schedules, 3. Doses which may be given at the doctor’s discretion, and 4. Vaccines only for certain high-risk groups. It is the first level (the routine vaccines) that makes up the standard CDC vaccine schedule.


Click on the image above to view the updated Immunity Education Group infographic (or click HERE to see it on our Infographics page).  Originally created last year by one of our own, this document accurately reflects the CDC’s 2016 recommendations and how they compare to 1983.