Pre-teens Need Vaccines Too

21 07 2010

(courtesy of guest blogger Amelia Burke, MA)

There are serious diseases that kids are at increased risk for as they approach the teen years, such as meningitis, whooping cough, and human papillomavirus (also known as HPV, the virus that can lead to cervical cancer in women).

And the statistics speak for themselves:

  • 13,000 cases of pertussis (whooping cough) were reported in 2008.  Although deaths from pertussis are usually in the youngest infants, adolescents and adults can develop complications such as pneumonia, rib fracture, difficulty sleeping and urinary incontinence.  Infants often catch pertussis from family members, including adolescents;
  • An estimated 1,000 – 1,200 cases of meningococcal disease (including meningitis) occur in the United States annually, with 10-15% of those people dying from it and an additional 15% having a long-term disability, such as hearing loss, loss of a limb, nervous system damage, or brain damage as a result;
  • And every year in the U.S., about 6.2 million people get a new HPV infection, about 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and about 4,000 women die from the disease.

CDC recommends that pre-teens should receive the following:

  • Tdap vaccine – combined protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis
  • Meningococcal  vaccine  – protection against meningitis and its complications
  • Seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines – protection against seasonal and H1N1 influenza viruses
  • For girls, HPV vaccines to protect against the two types of human papillomavirus that cause up to 70% of cervical cancers.

As well, one of two available HPV vaccines also protects against warts in the genital area, and boys and men ages nine through 26 can get this vaccine.

These recommendations are supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the Society for Adolescent Medicine.

Most health insurance plans cover these vaccines, and for families without insurance, there are options for cost coverage through the Vaccines for Children program (VFC). You can find a VFC provider by contacting your local health department, visiting CDC’s website, or calling 1800-CDC-INFO.

CDC’s Pre-teen Vaccine Campaign has educational materials tailored for various audiences, including Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic, Asian American, and Native American parents, available in English, Spanish, Korean, and Vietnamese.  Learn more and download / order these materials at NO COST.


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