Vaccinations are not just for younger children. Even though kids may have received their recommended vaccinations when they were younger, they still may need additional vaccines as adolescents.
To help protect preteens and teens from serious diseases and keep them healthy for school, talk with their health care provider and make sure their vaccinations are up to date. In addition, their school nurse is a great resource for general health and immunization information.
In a recent conversation about immunizations, Sandi Delack from the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) provided answers to some important questions:
1. What vaccines are recommended for preteens and teens?
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends:
• Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Whooping cough): Tdap (tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccines) is a single booster vaccine that helps to protect against all three diseases. Experts recommend that adolescents receive a single dose of this vaccine at 11 to 12 years if they have completed the childhood diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and whole cell pertussis (DTP)/ diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccination series and have not received a tetanus and diphtheria toxoid (Td). Persons aged 13 through 18 years who have not received Tdap should receive a dose.
• Human papillomavirus: HPV vaccine helps protect against certain types of the human papillomavirus, which can cause cervical cancer and genital warts. Experts recommend that girls get this set of three vaccines at age 11 or 12 years. Catch-up vaccination is also recommended in girls 13 through 18 years. Boys between ages 9 through 18 years may choose to get this set of three vaccines to prevent genital warts.
• Meningococcal: MCV4 helps protect against meningococcal disease (meningitis). Experts recommend that adolescents get a single dose of this vaccine at age 11 or 12 years.
• Influenza (Flu) and H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu): The influenza vaccine for the 2010-2011 influenza season helps to protect against influenza (also known as the "flu"), including the H1N1 strain of influenza that caused the recent pandemic. The CDC recommends that preteens/teens get the flu vaccine yearly.
If not required for school attendance in your state, additional vaccines to be discussed with your health care provider or school nurse include those for chicken pox; measles, mumps, rubella; pneumococcal disease; polio; Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.
2. What happens if my preteen or teen misses his or her vaccines?
There are many reasons why preteens and teens may miss getting the recommended vaccinations on time, including moving to a new state, switching health care providers or the vaccine may have been unavailable when they were younger. Whatever the reason, it is not too late for your preteen or teen to catch up on missed vaccines. Talk to your health care provider or school nurse to ensure your preteen or teen is up-to-date on recommended vaccines for their age group and caught up on any missed vaccines.
3. Does my preteen or teen need to get vaccinated again if he or she was vaccinated as a child?
There are many times throughout your child's life where it is recommended he or she receives additional vaccinations to help protect them from contagious diseases. Even though preteens and teens may have received the recommended immunizations when they were younger, protection from some vaccines may decline, leaving them at risk for infection from certain diseases. For example, the whooping cough vaccination wears off five to 10 years after the completion of childhood vaccination, so a booster vaccine is recommended.
4. Where can I find more information about preteen/teen immunization?
The CDC recommended vaccination schedule can be found at www.cdc.gov.
In addition to your health care provider, your child's school nurse is a great resource to learn more about recommended immunizations. Your school nurse has access to the most up-to-date information on immunization recommendations and school immunization requirements. They can also discuss other questions or concerns regarding your preteen's or teen's health. After all, the goal of the school nurse is to help keep students healthy so they can succeed in school.
GlaxoSmithKline has provided funding, editorial and other assistance to the National Association of School Nurses for this campaign.
Courtesy of ARAcontent