Immunizations are one of the greatest public health achievements, preventing tens of thousands of deaths, millions of cases of disease, and saving billions of dollars per decade. Immunizations are a safe, effective way to protect children from disease, including some cancers, as well as hospitalization, disability, and death. It is especially important during a pandemic or other public health emergency to maintain routine immunizations to prevent further outbreaks.
Pediatricians play a crucial role in immunizing children and are a trusted source for vaccine information. Vaccine conversations with parents should begin as early as possible – at prenatal visits/interviews ideally – as families often make immunization decisions during pregnancy through the first 2 months of baby’s life.
The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends immunizations as the safest and most cost-effective way of preventing disease, disability, and death. The AAP calls for the on-time, routine immunization of all children and adolescents according to its policy, Recommended Immunization Schedules for Children and Adolescents Aged 18 Years or Younger, United States, 2022.
The AAP Red Book serves as policy of the AAP and is written by the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. Chapter 1 of the Red Book focuses on Immunizations. Chapter 3 includes Summaries of Infectious Diseases, including those prevented by routine immunization.
The AAP supports regulations and laws requiring immunizations to attend child care and school, with exemptions for specific immunizations only when medically contraindicated for an individual child. The AAP views nonmedical exemptions to school-required immunizations as inappropriate for individual, public health, and ethical reasons and advocates for their elimination. More is available in the policy statement, Medical Versus Nonmedical Immunization Exemptions for Child Care and School Attendance.
To support routine and on-time vaccination of adolescents, the AAP has issued the clinical report, The Need to Optimize Adolescent Immunization, which reminds pediatricians that every visit is an opportunity to vaccinate.
Other AAP Policies and Clinical Reports include the following:
- COVID-19 Vaccines in Children and Adolescents
- Countering Vaccine Hesitancy
- Immunizing Parents and Other Close Family Contacts in the Pediatric Office Setting
Professional Tools & Resources
The AAP offers a robust set of tools and resources to help your practice efficiently immunize patients, communicate effectively with families, prepare for influenza vaccination season, learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine for children, and vaccinate adolescents against HPV and other illnesses.
Resources for Families
Many parents are happy to protect their children with vaccines. Some have questions. This page offers helpful links to Healthychildren.org, the parenting website of the AAP.
CDC Childhood Immunization Coverage
The National Immunization Surveys (NIS) are a group of phone surveys used to monitor vaccination coverage among children 19-35 months and teens 13-17 years. You can learn about data collected in the most recent NIS.
In August 2021, the immunization information on www.aap.org was revised. We seek your feedback on the new organization and ease of use for the immunization content please consider filling out this brief survey. We estimate it will take 2 minutes to complete.
Podcasts and Voices Blogs
Learn what others are saying. Listen to our podcasts and read our blog posts.
In the first full episode, hosts Joanna Parga-Belinkie, MD, FAAP and David Hill, MD, FAAP share why they became pediatricians and introduce listeners to the new podcast from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Guest interviews address two of the biggest issues facing children’s health today: drowning and vaccine hesitancy.
Pediatrics on Call|
June 25, 2020
Hosts David Hill, MD, FAAP, and Joanna Parga-Belinkie, MD, FAAP discuss with Jason Glanz, PhD, new research in Pediatrics about the efficacy of Web-based vaccine messaging.
Pediatrics on Call|
October 20, 2020
Through recollections and family experiences, this pediatrician shares why we need to speak boldly about the protection vaccines offer.
August 21, 2019
American Academy of Pediatrics