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NOT ANOTHER SHOT!

Hepatitis A vaccination is now considered a standard component of routine childhood immunization and is initiated as a two-dose series beginning after the age of twelve months. Children previously not vaccinated against Hepatitis A will be given the vaccine at the next most convenient appointment with their primary care provider. Hepatitis A, a potentially lethal form of liver infection that is spread by direct contact with infected individuals, is easily prevented by these injections given at least six months apart. While varicella (chickenpox) vaccine has been a standard immunization for several years, a relatively high number of break-through cases of the illness are still noted by the health care community. Further research confirmed that the immunity conferred by adding a second dose of the vaccine far exceeded the single dose. Subsequently, the newest recommendations include the initial varicella vaccine after the age of twelve months, followed by a booster dose afte the fourth birthday.

Rotavirus, a viral cause of acute gastroenteritis with sometimes servere nausea, vomiting and dehydration is also now also cured by immunization. This oral vaccine series given to infants at apporximately ages two, four and six months and substantially reduces or eliminates the chance that Rotavirus infection which can ultimately lead to severe symptoms, hospitalization, or death.

And finally, a vaccine that has received a large amount of media coverage is the immunization against Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the leading cause of cervical cancer. While it does not confer immunity against all strains of the virus, it does prevent infection with the strains causing the majority of HPV infections leading to cervical cancer. It is also administered to adolescent females in a three dose series and may be initiated as early as the age of nine. Of course, this information will certainly raise questions with many readers and leave many parents searching for more information. The websites for the previously mentioned organizations (www.aap.org, www.aafpg.org, www.cdc.gov/nip/ACIP) can be very helpful in this regard. And it must be said that nothing surpassed the information gained through dialogue with your physician when seeking education and opinions regarding the use of these vaccines.

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