MONDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Boys should get the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to protect them against genital warts, and all children should receive the H1N1 vaccine to guard against swine flu, according to updated guidelines on childhood and teen vaccines.
The new vaccine schedules -- issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Family Physicians -- also recommend using combination vaccines whenever possible.
"These are life-threatening illness that vaccines prevent, and if you have a combination vaccine that's safe and effective and requires one less stick for your child and one less trip to the doctor, it makes sense to me -- as a father -- to think about that," said Dr. David W. Kimberlin, a professor of pediatrics and co-director of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Kimberlin is a member of the committee that created the new immunization schedules.
The new vaccine schedules are published in the January issue of Pediatrics and online on Jan. 4.
The most significant changes are:
Overall, Kimberlin said he thinks most parents are following these recommended schedules and protecting their children against what can be life-threatening illnesses. However, "parents are inundated with misinformation or incomplete information about vaccinations," he noted. "And, with all the noise out there, people start thinking there might be something to what they're hearing."
Dr. Michael Green, an infectious disease specialist at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, said that although most children are vaccinated, "there is a fairly large cohort of kids who don't receive optimal immunizations either for religious reasons, or their parents don't believe in immunizations because of health concerns, such as a fear of autism."