The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Vote to Recommend Influenza Vaccination for Children Aged 6 to 23 Months
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) today (October 15, 2003) voted to recommend that children 6 to 23 months of age be vaccinated annually against influenza. The ACIP recommended this change be implemented in the fall of 2004.
The ACIP had previously encouraged physicians to vaccinate 6 to 23 month old children when feasible; that is, when they had resources and capacity to educate parents about influenza, to administer the needed doses, and to monitor vaccine adverse events.
The current inactivated influenza vaccine is not approved by FDA for use among children less than six months of age.
Two doses of inactivated influenza vaccine administered more than one month apart are recommended for previously unvaccinated children less than nine years of age. If possible, the second dose should be administered before December. All subsequent annual influenza vaccinations require only one dose of vaccine.
Annual vaccination with the current vaccine is recommended because immunity declines during the year after vaccination and because the vaccine composition usually changes each year. Vaccine prepared for a previous influenza season should not be administered to provide protection for the current season.
The recommendations of the ACIP are forwarded to the Director of the CDC and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) for review. If the ACIP recommendations are accepted by the Director of CDC and the Secretary of HHS, they are published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and become recommendations of CDC.
The ACIP consists of 15 experts in fields associated with immunization who have been selected for the Secretary of HHS to provide guidance to the Secretary, the Assistant Secretary for Health, and the CDC on the most effective means to prevent vaccine-preventable diseases. The Committee reviews and reports on immunization practices and recommends improvements in the national immunization efforts.
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