Pre-Teen Vaccines are Often Overlooked

Maybe it's time for your pre-teen to get booster shots!Is it time for a shot?

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and we’re going to focus today on an often-overlooked group of citizens: pre-teens. Faculty and administration keep a close eye on our 4-6 year olds who are entering school, making sure these children are up-to-date on vaccines. But there are other times in life that our kids need a booster shot, and even to begin a new course of vaccinations. Let’s review the four main vaccines that 11 and 12-year-olds should recieve, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

What Vaccines Do Pre-Teens Need?

All pre-teens need the following vaccinations:

  • TDAP:  This booster protects against three potentially deadly illnesses: tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough (also known as pertussis). Tdap is administered as a single shot.
  • MCV4: This vaccine protects our kids against certain types of meningococcal disease, including meningitis. Meningitis is an extremely dangerous infection that affects the brain and spinal cord. MCV4 is given as a single shot.
  • HPV:  This series of three vaccines protects against human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV is known to cause cervical cancer in women and genital warts and anal cancer in women and men. Though often marketed toward teen girls, it should be noted that the HPV vaccine is valuable to both genders. The HPV vaccine is given in three doses over a six-month period.
  • Flu:  The best way to protect against the flu is still an annual flu vaccine.

Does My Pre-Teen REALLY Need These Vaccines?

Yes, they absolutely do. Kids seem stronger the older they grow, but the simple truth is that the protection that vaccines give our kids wears off as they grow up. That’s why the Tdap booster is especially important at this age. The other vaccines protect children against diseases that become a more serious threat as they grow up, like meningitis, whooping cough, and the types of cancer that HPV can cause.

We really care about your health and the well-being of your kids. If you are unsure about whether your pre-teens are current on their vaccine schedule, make a phone call to your family health care provider right away. You’ll be glad to have the peace of mind knowing that your kids are protected.

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