Back to School Vaccinations
Classroom supplies? Check. Backpacks? Check. New clothes? Check. Dorm supplies? Check. Vaccinations? Um, yeah, better check that.
While shots aren’t fun, neither are diseases, right Mom & Dad? Most parents are familiar with the standard vaccines, but there are many you may not be aware of. Back-to-school vaccinations are more important than ever before. Don’t wait until the last minute!
For kids starting middle school and young adults headed off to college, there are critically important vaccines they need to have, often before being allowed to attend classes (but not always). And it’s better to get those shots out of the way now.
Tetanus for middle school age kids
The tried and true tetanus shot is a must. The latest and most effective vaccine is the TDAP so make sure that’s on the list for kids ages 11 to 12. This includes acellular pertussis known as whooping cough, which is on the rise.
Vaccinate both girls & boys against HPV
The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has had a bit of an image problem mainly because of a lack of education, but here’s the straightforward question parents need to ask themselves: “If I could prevent my child from getting cancer, would I do something about it?” Folks, it really is that straightforward.
The HPV9 vaccine protects against cancers caused by HPV infection, which is so common 1 in 4 Americans are infected right now, and another 14 million will become infected every year. Especially teens and young adults according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/vaccine.html]
It’s ugly but this virus can cause horrific cancers in both genders, despite age. The CDC says there are 32,650 cases of cancers from HPV every year. The vaccine can prevent “about 30,000 cases from ever developing.” [https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/vaccine.html]
Vaccinate your child, girls and boys, beginning at age 9 to prevent cancer caused by the HPV virus.
Meningitis vaccines are a must for ages 11 to college
Meningitis causes a swelling around the brain and spinal cord. It can be deadly, so the meningitis vaccine is a must-do. Teens and young adults are among the most likely to get meningitis, and the disease can be bacterial, viral, and sometimes fungal.
Viral meningitis isn’t always severe and most will recover but it’s still debilitating, albeit temporarily. The vaccine for ages 11 to 18, the MCV4 vaccine, can prevent viral meningitis.
Bacterial meningitis, the most severe form of meningitis, is another story and can be deadly. Serogroup B meningococcal disease is airborne and spread from person to person through close contact from coughing to kissing or just among people living in close quarters. Meningitis B can cause loss of limbs and even death. Yes, it’s that frightening.
Teens entering college should be vaccinated against this most serious form of meningitis, and it’s more common than one might think. As of the publication of this article, there were six colleges listed on the CDC website with urgent notifications for students to be vaccinated as outbreaks had been recorded.
“The risk is real. This disease is deadly and is in college dorms,” said Stacy Koski RN, BSN of Passport Health. “Even if the college does not require it, though most do, parents need to know the risk is real.”
If you have questions about these or other childhood vaccinations, contact one of the vaccine experts at Passport Health of Sarasota, Bradenton or Port Charlotte at 941-362-0304.