Vaccines: Get an 'A' in Vaccines (cont.)

In May 1999, the ACIP recommended that all states require varicella vaccination, or evidence of immunity, for children entering child care and elementary school.

And there is talk of adding chickenpox to the existing measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to pack a quadruple wallop into a single needle stick. But that product won't be developed right away, Dr. Fleming says, and will mainly aid younger children who now face 13 separate injections by age 6.

A Td shot -- tetanus and diphtheria toxoids -- is recommended at 11 to 12 years of age if more than five years have elapsed since the last dose of DTP, DTaP or DT. Routine Td boosters are recommended every decade.

Dr. Fleming, himself the father of children in the immunization age range, says it helps to talk to children about the need for the shots. Children recall being sick, or having a friend who was sick, and can understand the shot as a "trade-off" to prevent future sickness.

"I'm not above bribery and combining a visit to the ice-cream store," admits Dr. Fleming, "so the child has a short-term reason to want to get their shot."

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Last Editorial Review: 1/30/2005 11:41:41 PM