The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a policy statement approving the recommended routine immunization schedule for children and teens for 2022, updating a section on COVID-19 vaccines among other minor changes.
The "Recommended Childhood and Adolescent Immunization Schedule: United States, 2022," published in the March 2022
Pediatrics, reflects current recommendations for the use of vaccines licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
"We have talked a lot about the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine over the past year. What's also very important to keep in mind are all the routine vaccines that have protected our children for decades against other life-threatening diseases," said Sean O'Leary, MD, MPH, FAAP, vice chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases, which wrote the statement.
Catching up on routine vaccines
"If families have fallen behind on their well visits during the pandemic, it's a good idea to check with their pediatrician on catching up with any missed vaccinations," Dr. O'Leary said.
"We want to make sure children are up to date with all their immunizations to prevent illnesses such as measles, mumps and meningitis. These immunizations are the best way to avoid a completely preventable disease outbreak that can also have devastating effects."
Reasons behind the schedule
Vaccines on the immunization schedule are specially formulated to be given at certain points in children's development for their peak effectiveness and safety. Children age 5 and older may also receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as other regularly scheduled immunizations.
The immunization schedule includes a table for recommended immunizations from birth to 18, as well as a vaccine schedule for children and teens ages 4 months to 18 years who start late or who are more than one month behind the recommended age for vaccine administration. A parent-friendly immunization schedule will also be available.
What about COVID-19 vaccines?
The schedule notes reflect that COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for use within the scope of the Emergency Use Authorization or Biologics License Application for the particular vaccine.
The immunization schedule has been approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Nurse-Midwives, American Academy of Physician Assistants, and National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.