With three boys ages 13 to 16 years old myself, a parent has to remember they need school vaccinations also. Besides a yearly flu vaccine, teenagers are at risk of catching other diseases. Many adolescents are under immunized and not protected against these certain diseases. Recommendations from the CDC include vaccinations for meningitis [MCV4], Human papillomavirus [HPV], Tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap).
Tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap) is given at age 11 or 12 if your child has had the recommended DTP/DTaP vaccination series and no tetanus and diphtheria toxoid (Td) booster. The vaccine protects against all three diseases, one of which is Diphtheria ( a respiratory disease caused by bacteria.) Whooping cough or pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory infection. The CDC has reported an increase in the number of cases of pertussis in several states. Tdap is required as kids play outdoors and bacteria from the soil gets into cuts or they experience a puncture wound breaking the skin that can cause “lockjaw’ or tetanus. Booster shots are needed as an adult every 10 years to stay protected for tetanus.
The meningococcal vaccine (MCV) protects against meningitis, which is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. This disease is also caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Some forms of the bacterial meningitis are contagious (through kissing, coughing), but not as contagious as a common cold. College freshmen living in dorms are at risk for meningococcal disease and need to be vaccinated.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus that is spread through sexual contact. It is not the same as herpes or HIV, but sometimes can cause genital warts in males and females. The vaccine can protect males and females against most common types of HPV. The HPV vaccine is usually given in a series of three shots for the best protection. Girls and women can also receive a vaccine that protects females against the types of HPV that causes most cervical cancer.
Every teen should also receive the varicella or chicken pox vaccine, which is administered in 2 doses, if not previously vaccinated and have never had chickenpox. The minimum interval between doses for ages 7 to 12 years is 3 months, with only 28 days between doses for those teens over the age of 13 years.
Adolescents and teens who are vaccinated as children probably will be due for booster shots only. You can have you physician catch up on any childhood immunizations that they have missed. Ask your physician for vaccine information statements for each vaccine that the CDC provides which explains each vaccine.
SOURCES: CDC (Centers for Disease Control):