Monday, March 8th, 2021

Pediatrician: Parents be aware of booster shot

Posted: Monday, May 23, 2011

Huntington pediatrician Duane Hougendobler, MD, encourages parents with children between two and five years old to have their children immunized with an important booster shot, which many moms and dads may not know is available.

Children between these ages may not have had the Prevnar 13 booster shot that has been a part of a series of four doses now routinely administered nationwide to children under two years of age. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in February 2010, doses are administered at two months, four months, six months and 12 through 15 months.

The vaccine immunizes against blood infections, pneumonia, ear infections and meningitis (an infection of the covering of the brain) in children. Meningitis can also lead to other health problems, including deafness and brain damage.

Prevnar 13 adds protection against six additional types of bacteria to the former product, Prevnar 7, which is no longer administered. Prevnar 13 adds coverage to more than 90 percent of pneumococcal diseases rather than Prevnar 7’s 80 percent coverage.

Dr. Hougendobler, of Parkview FirstCare – Huntington Pediatrics, wants parents to know that regular visits to their primary care physician or pediatrician are crucial to learning about changes in vaccines.

“The lack of public knowledge about the booster shot is why I recommend that parents schedule yearly physicals for their children,” said Dr. Hougendobler. “Yearly physicals allow us the opportunity to ensure that our young patients receive the latest protection against childhood diseases.”

The Huntington County Health Department is also administering the Prevnar 13 vaccine to newborns since last year’s FDA approval, according to Debra Doctor, RN, public health nurse.

“When Prevnar 13 became available, it replaced Prevnar 7 at all Indiana county health departments,” she said.

Vaccination records are checked during visits to the health department to ensure that all children receive the additional protection of the new vaccine, added Doctor. “If a parent brings in a child under the age of 5 and the child has received four doses of Prevnar 7, we administer a booster shot of Prevnar 13.”

Children younger than two years of age are at higher risk for serious disease than older children. Also, the bacteria are spread from person to person through close contact.