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The Vaccines Every Teenager Needs

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  • A Word About Vaccines

    A Word About Vaccines

    Vaccines have received a bad rap in some circles in recent years. Certain celebrities have spoken out against them, and some parents even choose to homeschool their children in order to avoid vaccinations. This line of thinking is misguided, and puts many people at risk—not just the minority of people who go unvaccinated. Without the protection of vaccines, our world would be a very different place, and countless lives would be lost to horrible, preventable diseases.

  • Herd Immunity

    Herd Immunity

    Vaccines are important for two reasons. One is obvious: they protect vaccinated people from disease. The second reason may be less obvious: they provide what is known as “herd immunity.” This means that when most people are vaccinated against a certain disease, even people who can’t be vaccinated receive some protection. Herd immunity keeps the disease from getting into the community because so many people are immune to it.

  • Why Teenagers Are at Risk

    Why Teenagers Are at Risk

    Teenagers have a lot going on. Many move into group living situations, like a college dorm or a military barracks. This kind of living quarters can become a breeding ground for disease. Other teens may become sexually active, putting them at risk for sexually transmitted diseases.

  • Which Vaccines Do Teens Need?

    Which Vaccines Do Teens Need?

    Some vaccines need to be kept current at all ages. DTaP, for example, is a vaccine received in childhood that protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Teenagers are ready for the booster shot, known as Tdap.

    The flu vaccine is needed every year. This is because it is developed based on the most common strains of flu every season.

    Other vaccines, such as the HPV and meningitis vaccines, are particularly important for teenagers because of their age and changing life situations.

  • Meningococcal Vaccine

    Meningococcal Vaccine

    The meningococcal conjugate vaccine, or MCV4, protects against a certain bacterium that causes meningitis. Meningococcal meningitis is very dangerous, and is the most common cause of meningitis outbreaks in boarding schools and college dorms. Keeping teens vaccinated can help ensure that this life-threatening disease doesn’t sweep through large groups of people.

  • When and Where?

    When and Where?

    MCV4 is recommended around the age of 11 or 12, and a booster is recommended at age 16. Teenagers who missed the first dose of MCV4 should get the vaccine at age 16, and certainly by the age of 18. This is especially important for teenagers who are about to move into a college dorm or a military barracks. Your child’s pediatrician or a family practice doctor can administer the vaccine at the appropriate times.

  • HPV Vaccine

    HPV Vaccine

    The HPV vaccine protects against the human papillomavirus, a leading cause of certain types of cancer. Because this virus is spread through sexual contact and is widely known to cause cervical cancer, some people still think that the vaccine is only for young women. The truth is that it also causes genital warts and cancer of the anus, and is dangerous to both young women and men.

  • When and Where?

    When and Where?

    Two vaccines are available. Cervarix is only for girls, and protects against cervical cancer. Gardasil is for both boys and girls, and protects against genital warts and four types of cancer. In both cases, three doses should be received before the person becomes sexually active. The first dose is usually given to children around the age of 11 or 12. Talk to your child’s pediatrician or a family doctor for more information.

  • Talk to Your Child’s Doctor

    Talk to Your Child’s Doctor

    Make sure your child continues to receive medical checkups into their teenage years. Their doctor can make sure that they stay up to date on all recommended vaccinations, help you understand which vaccines are needed, and why.

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