If you’re a millennial born between 1981 and 1996, it’s likely that you never received several of the vaccinations that are recommended for young children by doctors today and you may have questions about the latest childhood vaccination recommendations.
For example, if you were a kid in the 1990s, it’s likely you’ll remember getting the chickenpox.
In the 1990s, more than 4 million people got chickenpox and up to 150 people died each year in the U.S. Most millennials can recall a vivid memory of breaking out in the trademark full-body itchy rash.
But by 1995, the chickenpox vaccine became available – and today, there are fewer than 150,000 cases of chickenpox in the U.S. each year.
The chickenpox vaccine is just one of the developments in childhood vaccinations aimed at saving lives.
“Staying up-to-date with your child’s schedule of vaccinations is one of the most important actions you can take to protect your child’s long-term health and well-being,” said Dr. James Grant, chief medical officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Several vaccines have become available in the past 30 years that really advance how we’re able to shield our children from deadly diseases.”
Here’s a look at some of the childhood vaccines recommended by health experts that have been released since the 1990s.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two doses of chickenpox vaccine for children, adolescents, and adults who have never had chickenpox and were never vaccinated. Children are routinely recommended to receive the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.
The rotavirus vaccine is another recent addition. In 2006, the CDC approved a rotavirus vaccine for use in all infants in the U.S. Rotavirus can cause severe watery diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain.
According to the CDC the first dose of rotavirus should be given at 2 months of age and then again at 4 months and 6 months depending on the type of vaccine given. The vaccine should not be given after a child turns 8 months old.
Hepatitis A vaccine
A vaccine for hepatitis A, a serious and infectious liver disease, was released in 1995. Hepatitis A is a virus that is spread when you have contact with an infected person through either eating or drinking food or drink contaminated with the virus. It is very contagious, and the vaccine is important to help protect people from being infected with the virus.
The CDC recommends children receive2 doses of hepatitis A vaccine. The first dose should be given at 12 through 23 months of age, followed by a second dose at least six months after the first dose.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted virus that infects 13 million people – including teens – each year. While nine out of every 10 HPV infections resolve on their own, some people carry the virus for longer periods of time and can develop cancer or precancerous conditions like cervical cancer, throat cancer and abnormal Pap smears. The HPV vaccine was first released in 2006.
Since being introduced, research has shown that the types of HPV infections that cause most cancers have dropped 88% among teen girls due to the vaccination.
HPV can be given to girls and boys starting at nine years of age and the CDC recommends the vaccine be completed by the time children are between 11 and 12. The vaccine is much more effective when it is given prior to the onset of sexual activity. It is a series of two vaccines if given prior to age 15, but after age 15 it is a series of three vaccinations.
Meningococcal infections are a serious type of bacterial infection that are associated with a high risk of death for those who become infected. The symptoms are initially similar to the flu with fever, headache and stiff neck. However, the infection can rapidly progress to an infection affecting the lining of the brain or spinal cord and also the bloodstream. The CDC first recommended preteens and teens get a meningococcal vaccine in 2005. Today, the meningococcal vaccine is recommended for all preteens at 11 to 12 years old with a vaccine booster for all teens at 16 years old.