Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Why Do Pre-Teens and Adolescents Need Immunizations?

When my daughter was "graduating" from 5th grade a year ago and entering 6th grade a note came home with her explaining what vaccines she needed since she would be turning 11. Honestly, I thought she had all her vaccines since she received them as an infant and a small child. If these vaccines weren't done she wouldn't of been allowed back into school according to the letter. There are serious diseases that kids are at increased risk for as they approach the teen years such as meningitis, whooping cough, and human papillomavirus (also known as HPV, the virus that can lead to cervical cancer in women). Here are the facts:

  • Meningococcal infections are very serious and can result in long-term disability or even death
  • Pertussis, also called whooping cough, is not just a childhood disease—many teens are diagnosed with it each year
  • Certain strains of HPV, the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, can cause cervical pre-cancer and cancer—every year in the U.S., about 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and nearly 4,000 women die from this disease

She annually goes for a well check-up at every birthday so I know her doctor would of had this information, but it was a nice handy reminder from the school as well. When I called to make the appointment, I remember trying to make it a couple days before her birthday and the receptionist said "unfortunately she needs to be exactly 11"...wow, I didn't know a couple days before hand would make a difference but I guess it does. I find vaccines important for my child's well being, and care. We annually get the flu vaccine, the whole family, just because the benefits out weigh the risks.

Vaccines are an important part of preventive care throughout life. Help protect your child’s health by being sure to get the pre-teen vaccines on time. If your child did not get these vaccines at age 11 or 12, schedule an appointment to get them now.
Tdap, which is a booster against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis
Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4), which protects against meningococcal disease
Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which protects girls against the types of HPV that cause 70% of cervical cancer
Influenza (flu) vaccine (annually for all children 6 months of age and older), which protects against three strains of seasonal influenza

CDC’s vaccine recommendations are supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the Society for Adolescent Medicine (SAM).

For families with health insurance, all or most of the cost of vaccines is usually covered. For families without insurance, children age 18 and younger may be eligible to get the vaccines for free through the Vaccines for Children program (VFC).

Need more information on Why Do Pre-teens and Adolescents Need Immunizations? Click Here

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If you have any questions about the CDC’s recommendations for pre-teen immunization, they want to hear from you. Please feel free to email Jill Roark at JRoark@cdc.gov with any questions. Call 800-CDC-INFO or visit www.CDC.gov/vaccines for more information.

*I am writing this post as part of a CDC blogger outreach program. I may receive a small thank you gift from the CDC for my participation in raising awareness about pre-teen immunizations

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