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Children Should Be Protected From Serious Diseases

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

In recognition of Preteen Vaccine Week, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is urging parents to make sure their children are vaccinated against potentially life-threatening diseases such as meningitis, whooping cough, and, for girls, cervical cancer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) have declared January 18-24, 2009 as Preteen Vaccine Week to raise awareness of the importance of vaccinations.

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"Protecting the health of Michigan's youth is one of our most urgent priorities," said MDCH Director Janet Olszewski. "Preteen Vaccine Week is part of our commitment to ensure Michigan's adolescents receive all of the benefits immunizations provide."

MDCH urges parents to schedule a routine check-up for their 11- or 12-year-olds to talk with their doctor about recommended vaccines and to ensure their preteen's vaccinations are up to date.

"The protection provided by some childhood vaccines wears off over time, and as they get older, young people are at risk of exposure to different diseases at school or camp or in other new situations," says Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD).

Parents should make sure their preteens are up to date on other immunizations such as hepatitis B and measles-mumps-rubella (MMR). If parents are concerned because their children do not have health insurance or are only partly insured, they can ask their doctor or local health department about how to get publicly purchased vaccines through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program.