TUESDAY, Feb. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Teenagers need a booster shot to protect them from meningococcal meningitis, a potentially deadly infection of the tissue around the brain, while all kids should have up-to-date whooping cough vaccines in light of recent outbreaks, according to new recommendations from pediatric experts.
The American Academy of Pediatrics issues updated vaccination guidelines annually. Its new schedule, released Feb. 1 in the journal Pediatrics, is very similar to last year's recommendations.
Yet even without major changes, pediatricians said the revised schedule is a good opportunity to remind parents to make sure their children's vaccines are up to date.
"Immunizations have been the most effective medical preventive measure ever developed, but some people who live in the United States right now don't appreciate how tremendously protected they've been because of vaccines," said Dr. Michael Brady, chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics' committee on infectious disease.
"There are still children around the world dying of measles and polio. The vaccination schedules are designed to get vaccines to the child before they are at the greatest risk," he added.
Among this year's recommendations:
All children aged 6 months to 18 should get an annual flu shot.
"Influenza can be a very, very serious disease, and it results in significant deaths every year," Brady said. "People get worried about the elderly, but children 2 years old or less have rates of hospitalization that are higher than the elderly."
Children aged 6 months to 8 years vaccinated for the first time, or those who only had one dose of a previous flu vaccine, need two doses of the 2010-2011 seasonal flu vaccine, the guidelines say.
With whooping cough (pertussis) outbreaks on the rise and an epidemic in California, parents need
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