With this year’s influenza epidemic splashed across news reels all over the country, vaccines are on the minds of patients and providers.  We are all well aware of the recommendation for an annual flu shot but what about other routinely scheduled vaccinations?  The CDC has just released updated 2013 vaccine schedules for both children and adults.  These new schedules contain a few key changes of which nurse practitioners must be aware. 

Changes to the Childhood Vaccine Schedule

Creators of the 2013 vaccine schedule recognized that with the growing number of immunizations required in childhood, the current vaccine charts were becoming a bit overwhelming.  So, they decided to simplify.  The childhood and adolescent charts have been merged into one easier to read chart covering children ages birth through 18 years.  Creators hope this design will make the CDC’s immunization schedule more user-friendly for providers.

Other than the design change and tweaking a few footnotes, no major updates were made in regards to the vaccine schedule for children and adolescents.

Changes to the Adult Vaccine Schedule

The most important addendum to the 2013 immunization recommendations is that the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis) vaccine is now recommended for pregnant women in the second half of pregnancy to provide protection to both the mother and unborn infant.

Guidelines for the pneumococcal vaccine have also been updated.  The CDC now advises that a new pneumococcal vaccine, PVC or Prevnar 13, be administered to all immunocompromised individuals ages 19 years and older in addition to pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, PPSV or Pneumovax.

As a nurse practitioner it is important you keep up to date with these vaccine guidelines to provide the most relevant care to your patients.  For more information about the new immunization recommendations, visit the CDC’s website.


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