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For most up to date changes, see Pickering LK, Baker CJ, Kimberlin DW, Long SS, eds. Red Book: 2012 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. 29th ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2012.




Term infants follow the recommended immunization schedule for persons aged 0–6 years (




Misconceptions about the safety and efficacy of vaccinations for preterm infants have led to delays in immunization for these infants. It is important that preterm infants with prolonged hospital stays begin necessary immunizations prior to neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) discharge to allow development of early protection from infectious agents prevalent in the community, especially pertussis. The American Academy of Pediatrics current recommendations can be summarized as follows:


“Preterm infants born at less than 37 weeks gestation and infants of low birthweight (<2500 grams) should, with few exceptions, receive all routinely recommended childhood vaccinations at the same chronologic age as term infants” even if they are still hospitalized. “Gestational age and birthweight are not limiting factors when deciding whether a clinically stable preterm infant is to be immunized.” In addition, “vaccine doses given to term infants should not be reduced or divided when given to preterm or low birth weight infants.”

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