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What You Should Know About the Recommended Childhood Vaccinations Schedule
When you visit your pediatrician, you may talk about the recommended childhood vaccination schedule. Here, we address how the childhood vaccination schedule is made, updates on the current recommendations, and the impact of the recommendations on required immunizations for daycare and school.
But first, why do children need vaccines anyway? Vaccines let our bodies learn how to fight off dangerous germs without being exposed to the germ itself. If we are exposed to one of those dangerous germs in everyday life, our immune system knows how to attack and destroy it before we become sick. Vaccines keep your child healthy.
The childhood vaccination schedule is specifically designed by researchers, doctors, and infectious disease experts with a child’s immune system in mind. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) reviews research three times per year and makes adjustments to the schedule as necessary. Other organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), provide input and approval on recommended changes. Vaccines are scheduled at ages when children receive the most benefit from the vaccine and are at the highest risk for a serious disease.
In February, the ACIP met and made some changes to the childhood vaccination schedule. The biggest change added the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of vaccines recommended for children starting at 6 months old. ACIP also added additional brands of MMR vaccine and pneumococcal vaccine to the list of recommended vaccines.
You may wonder how these changes affect daycare or school requirements. Changes made by ACIP to the childhood vaccination schedule do not automatically affect vaccine requirements for daycare or school attendance. Decisions about vaccine requirements are made locally by the state. Learn more about the requirements in Oregon from the Oregon Health Authority.
Keeping your child up to date on their vaccines is important not only for them to attend school or daycare but for their health and the health of your family and community. If your child is behind on their vaccines, the childhood vaccination schedule also provides guidance to doctors to get your child caught up. You can check with your child’s doctor or local health department to learn if your child is due for any vaccines. If you have more questions about the timing of your child’s vaccines or how the childhood vaccination schedule works, visit The Boost Oregon site.