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A Note From Nurse Laura...
Dear Parent or Guardian:
I want to remind you of the importance of getting your son or daughter vaccinated before they go back to school this fall. Vaccines are the best way you can protect your child from a number of serious diseases, including meningococcal disease, and cancers caused by HPV, and whooping cough.
As you are making your back-to-school checklist for your preteen, I encourage you to make sure your sons and daughters get all the vaccines that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends for them at ages 11 and 12. Schedule an appointment today for your child to receive all of the vaccines they need for the best protection. CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the National Association for School Nurses all agree that your preteen needs the following vaccines:
Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MenACWY) protects against some of the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease and meningitis. While not very common, these are very serious illnesses and death can occur in as little as 48 hours. Your child will need a booster shot at age 16 to continue providing protection into the late teens/early 20’s.
HPV vaccine protects against the infections that can cause HPV cancer. HPV infection is very common and causes more than 31,000 cases of cancer each year in the Unites States; that’s one case of cancer diagnosed every 17 minutes. Both boys and girls should complete the HPV vaccine series before age 13. Preteens need two doses of HPV vaccine, given six to twelve months apart. If you wait, your child may need three doses over six months.
One dose of Tdap vaccine as a booster is for continued protection against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). This vaccine keeps preteens healthy and prevents spread of pertussis to babies who are too young to be protected by vaccination.
Preteens and teens should also get the flu vaccine every year, ideally by the end of October if possible.
To learn more about state immunization requirements, go to: www.immunize.org/laws.
Protect your preteen and talk with your child’s clinician about what vaccines they need. You may also contact me with any questions. I can also provide you with additional resources about vaccination and other health topics for the preteen and teen years. To learn more about adolescent vaccines, please visit CDC’s website for parents about vaccines for children at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents, or you can visit www.middleschoolhealth.org for the Middle School Health Starts Here website.
"Children must be healthy to be educated and educated to be healthy." -- author unknown