June Is Adolescent Immunization Month
June is Adolescent Immunization Month. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that pre-teens get several vaccines at their 11 or 12 year old check-up:
· Tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis [also called whooping cough]vaccine (Tdap)
· Pertussis, also called whooping cough, is a contagious illness caused by bacteria that can be fatal to infants. Researchers have been able to identify that approximately 75% of babies who had contracted the disease had gotten it from a household member, with half of the cases coming from parents. “To protect your health and that of your children, talk to your health care provider about the adult pertussis vaccine and make sure that your child’s immunizations are up-to-date, especially the diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (DTaP) series” stated Shaunda Rauch, Interim Public Information Specialist for the Monongalia County Health Department.
· Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4)
· Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, for girls
· Influenza (flu) vaccine (annually from September through January and beyond)
These vaccines prevent serious, sometimes life-threatening diseases. Immunity from some childhood vaccines can decrease over time, so people need to get another dose of the vaccine during their pre-teen years. Also, as children move into adolescence, they are at greater risk of catching certain diseases, like meningitis and HPV. If your child did not get these vaccines at age 11 or 12, schedule an appointment to get them now.
“The Monongalia County Health Department would like to remind our residents that vaccines protect not only yourself but also others around you” stated Rauch. If your vaccine-primed immune system stops an illness before it starts, you will be contagious for a much shorter period of time, or perhaps not at all. Similarly, when other people are vaccinated, they are less likely to give the disease to you. Vaccines protect not only individuals but entire communities. That is why vaccines are vital to the public health goal of preventing diseases.