Hot Shots

Updates to the Book of Jabs: What’s new in the Canadian Pediatric Immunization schedule.

Did you know?

*Vaccination of infants prevents 13 major diseases (Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis whooping Cough), Polio, Haemophilus, Influenzae type B (HiB), Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Chicken Pox, Hepatitis B, Pneumococcal disease, Meningococcal disease, and Influenza).

*To be successful, vaccination programs depend on 75-90% of the population taking the vaccines. “Herd immunity” provides protection to vaccine dissenters. But as more of the population opts out, previously quashed diseases reemerge.

What’s New?

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recently updated its recommendations. The routine-recommended vaccination schedule begins at 2 months of age. We don’t expect you to memorize the schedule. Just take a look and make sure your children are up to date. (N.B. This schedule can be accelerated in some circumstances.)

Age DTaP-IPV Hib Pneu-C-13 Rot-1 Men-C-C MMR Var MMRV Men-C-ACYW HPV-4 Tdap
2 mo.
4 mo.
6 mo.
12 mo.
15 mo.
18 mo.
4-6 yrs.
Grade 7
Grade 8 females
14-16 yrs.

Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (DTaP-IPV-Hib) Vaccine:

These vaccines are considered the foundation of childhood immunization, so effective that most doctors in North America have not seen these diseases. Haemophilus influenzae type b is an exception, which was a leading cause of severe meningitis until the vaccine was introduced.

Pneumococcal Conjugate (Preu-C-13):

Prevnar 13 replaces the old Prevnar 7 and Prevnar 10, providing a wider coverage of more strains of the pneumococcal disease. Pneumococcal is a bacterium that can cause severe blood-borne infections, including meningitis.

Rotavirus Oral Vaccine (Rot-1):

Rotavirus gastroenteritis is the leading cause of severe diarrhea in young children. The vaccine is especially important for infants, who are more likely to get a severe form of gastroenteritis and require medical care for dehydration. This vaccine is orally administered (Droplets in the mouth, no needle).

Meningococcal (Men-C-C & Men-C-ACYW):

The meningococcal C-C vaccine is used in many countries, including Canada; but protection is limited to only one strain of the disease. Children 9-23 months who are at high risk (sub-Saharan Africa) should receive the Men-C-ACYW, which covers a wider range of meningococcal strains. For both vaccines, protection is limited to five years.

Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella Vaccine (MMRV):

A new vaccine that combines the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) with Varicella – one less needle! – and is given at 4-6 years of age, preferably given before school entry. Children 7 -11 years of age who have not received any doses of MMR or varicella may receive two doses (applicable in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, PEI, Saskatchewan, and Alberta).

Varicella Vaccine (Var; chicken pox prevention):

Children born on or after January 1, 2000 are eligible for 2 doses of the vaccine as a catch-up. (Until August 2011, the schedule called for only one vaccine)

Human Papilomavirus Vaccine (HPV-4):

All female grade 8 students can opt to receive this vaccine free.

There are more than 100 types of HPV, a common sexually transmitted virus that affects both females and males. HPV is usually asymptomatic (does not cause symptoms) and goes away on its own. However, HPV can be dangerous. More than 30 types of HPV affect the genital area, and some types can cause abnormal cervical cells, cerivical, cancer and other reproductive cancers. Other HPV variants cause genital warts and benign changes in the cervix.

Remember, it is essential to immunize your children.