The need for young children to get vaccinated goes unspoken, and there is an increased emphasis on adult vaccinations, but what about pre-teens and teens ages 11-18? Preteen and teen years are a great time to check in and see what vaccinations should be administered. This is the time for booster shots, an additional vaccine to maintain immunity, and to catch up on any shots that might have been missed during childhood. There are a few particular vaccines recommended for keeping pre-teens and teens protected and healthy.
Tdap protects from tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). This vaccine is usually administered when children are age 11-12 if they've already had the DTP/DTaP vaccination series, and never got a Td booster. Teens ages 13 to 18 year who may have missed the 11-12 year Td/Tdap booster should also get a single dose of Tdap if they had the DTP/DTaP vaccination series when they were younger.
Meningococcal conjugate vaccine
Also known as the MCV4 vaccine, meningococcal conjugate vaccine provides protection against meningococcal disease, a leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children. Meningococcal disease is extremely serious, with about one of every 10 people who get the disease dying from it. Those who survive the disease can be left with lifelong health problems and disabilities. The vaccine is especially important as kids leave for college, as the disease is spread via sneezing, coughing and kissing.
HPV stands for human papillomavirus. Certain types of HPV are linked to cervical cancer. The CDC suggests boys and girls get their first dose of the HPV vaccine between ages 11 and 12. Kids should get their second dose at least 6 months after the first. Three shots are recommended for those 15 and older or those with a weakened immune system.
The annual flu vaccine protects teens against flu strains predicted to be most common in an upcoming flu season. Most people who catch the flu will recover. However, the illness can cause complications in teens who already have underlying health conditions. Getting vaccinated will also prevent teens from passing the illness along to younger or older family members, among whom the flu can be a more dangerous threat. Teens should get vaccinated against flu in the fall or as soon as flu vaccine is available in your community.
When it comes to vaccinations, let us not forget about pre-teens and teens. Vaccines are vital to protecting against preventable disease at every age and stage.
It is crucial that vaccines are stored at appropriate temperatures to provide protection to people of all ages. Ensure that you are following CDC guidelines when it comes to vaccine storage by downloading our guide.