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National Immunization Awareness Month

August 18, 2014
August is National Immunization Awareness Month, providing a reminder of the importance of proper vaccination just as kids are heading back to school. Schools are a prime venue for transmitting vaccine-preventable diseases, and school-age children can further spread disease to their families and others with whom they come in contact.

As children get older, they are at an increased risk for some infections, and the protection from some childhood vaccines begins to fade, requiring a booster dose. As we’ve seen in the past few years, vaccine preventable diseases still pose a real threat. With recent outbreaks of measles and whooping cough (pertussis), it’s more important than ever to ensure that your kids (and you) stay up to date with the CDC’s recommended immunization schedules.

For preteens who are 11-12 years old, there are four recommended vaccines. Teenagers may need a booster of one of the shots, and it’s not too late to get any they may have missed when they were younger. The vaccines recommended for preteens and teens are:

  • Tdap vaccine, which is a booster against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Pertussis, or whooping cough, can keep kids out of school and activities for weeks. It can also be spread to babies, and this can be very dangerous and sometimes deadly.

  • Meningococcal vaccine, which protects against meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is caused by bacteria and is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis – a serious infection around the brain and spinal cord.

  • HPV vaccine for both boys and girls, which protects against the types of HPV that most commonly cause cancer. HPV can cause cancers of the cervix, vulva and vagina in women and cancers of the penis in men. In both women and men, HPV also causes mouth/throat cancer, anal cancer and genital warts.

  • Influenza (flu) vaccine, because even healthy kids can get the flu, and it can be serious. All kids, including your preteens and teens, should get the flu vaccine every year.

For more information about vaccines for preteens and teens, visit