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A vaccination schedule is a recommended series of vaccinations including the suggested timing of all doses. A vaccine is an antigenic preparation used to produce active immunity to a disease, in order to prevent or reduce the effects of infection by any natural or 'wild' pathogen. Many vaccines require multiple doses for maximum effectiveness, either to produce sufficient initial immune response or to boost response that fades over time. Vaccine schedules are developed by governmental agencies or physicians groups to achieve maximum effectiveness using required and recommended vaccines for a locality while minimizing the number of health care system interactions. Over the past two decades, the recommended vaccination schedule has grown rapidly and become more complicated as many new vaccines have been developed.
Some vaccines are recommended only in certain areas (countries, subnational areas or at-risk populations) where a disease is common. For instance, yellow fever vaccination is on the routine vaccine schedule of French Guiana, is recommended in certain regions of Brazil but in the United States is only given to travelers heading to countries with a history of the disease. In developing countries, vaccine recommendations also have to consider poor health care access, high vaccine cost and issues with vaccine availability and storage. Sample vaccinations schedules discussed by the World Health Organization show a developed country using a schedule which extends over the first five years of a child's life and uses vaccines which cost over $700 including administration costs while a developing country uses a schedule providing vaccines in the first 9 months of life and costing only $25. This difference incorporates the facts that health care costs are much lower, many vaccines are provided at lower costs to developing nations and more expensive vaccines, often for less common diseases, are not utilized.
In 1900, the smallpox vaccine was the only one administered to children. By the 1960s, children routinely received five vaccines, for protection against (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, and smallpox), and as many as eight shots by two years of age. As of 2007, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now recommends vaccination against at least sixteen diseases. By two years of age, U.S. children receive as many as 24 vaccine injections, and might receive up to five shots during one visit to the doctor. The use of combination vaccine products means that, as of 2006, the United Kingdom immunisation programme consists of just 11 injections by the age of two years and a further three injections by the time of leaving school.
Additional recommended knowledge
Diseases and vaccines
The World Health Organization monitors vaccination schedules across the world, noting what vaccines are included in each country's programme, the coverage rates achieved and various auditing measures.
The CDC recommends the following vaccines for children aged 0-6:
for children aged 11-12:
The 2007 adult immunization schedule recommended by the CDC for adults aged 18 and over adds to the 2005 schedule Human Papilloma Virus vaccination, and is clearer in specifying guidance for at risk groups:
Vaccines recommended for those age 50 and older:
Vaccines needed for those age 65 and older
Vaccines recommended for healthcare workers:
Vaccine Information Statements
In the US, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act requires all health-care providers to provide parents or patients with copies of Vaccine Information Statements before administering vaccines.
As of September 2006, the United Kingdom childhood vaccination schedule uses combination immunisations where available:
Notes: This schedule was amended on 4 September 2006 with the introduction of pneumococcal vaccine for babies, adjustment of the spacing of the MenC immunisations and an additional Hib booster at 12 months of age. A limited catch-up programme is now in place for pneumococcal vaccination. 
2006 release of childhood vaccination records
According to a 2006 report, there have been "50 to 60 per cent more vaccines recorded as being administered as would be expected." The report acknowledges that entries may have been duplicated, although speculation has raised that some NHS doctors may have deliberately overstated the number of shots given to youngsters in order to claim bonuses.
Adult & High-Risk vaccinations
What lies ahead
Many vaccinations are currently being evaluated for inclusion into the recommended vaccination schedule. Some of these combine up to five vaccinations into a single preparation, thus decreasing the number of individual vaccinations necessary. Others attempt to prevent diseases which currently do not have available vaccines. In addition, attempts to shield pharmaceutical companies which manufacture vaccines from liability are currently ongoing in the US and elsewhere, including numerous legislative initiatives in the United States Congress. Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) has introduced the most far reaching legislation, known as Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2005, that would further shield drug makers from vaccine injury liability, while streamlining vaccine approval processes to allow new vaccines to reach markets sooner, particularly in the event of a serious public health threat.
According to Dr. Thomas Saari, spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, "We project over the next ten years that we'll add one to two new vaccines a year." Dr. Andrew Wakefield has said, "The next few years are likely to see the introduction of ever greater numbers of vaccines and the possibility of using combination vaccines containing up to 16 different infectious diseases, is already being discussed in the US."
Often, immunity conferred by vaccination is life-long. However, immunity to some illnesses, such as pertussis fades over time and aging naturally increases susceptibility to disease.
Although the benefits far out way the consequences, many parents are choosing to not immunize their children.
Sources and notes
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Vaccination_schedule". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|