August is National Immunization Awareness Month. Unvaccinated children and adults are susceptible to preventable illness, and pose a threat to family members, especially infants and toddlers too young to have completed their full immunization course. In 2014, 13 percent of the reported cases of whooping cough occurred in children under 1 year old. Unvaccinated people were linked to the outbreak of measles in Disneyland during 2014 that spread throughout the United States.
In an effort to promote vaccination awareness, the National Public Health Information Coalition is sponsoring National Immunization Awareness Month (NAMI). NIAM promotes the vaccination of preteens and teens, preschool and school age children, pregnant woman and the elderly.
Preteens and teens are at increased risk for some infections. The protection provided by some of the childhood vaccines wears off during adolescents, so preteens need a booster dose. The National Public Health Information Coalition reports that 28,600 cases of whooping cough were reported to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in 2014. Vaccine-preventable diseases are still around and very real. The vaccines for preteens and teens can help protect your kids, as well as their friends, community, and other family members.
In addition to receiving booster shots, there are four vaccines recommended for preteens and teens.
- Quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine, which protects against four types of 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 – in teens and young adults.
- HPV vaccine, which protects against the types of HPV that most commonly cause cancer. HPV can cause future 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 (oropharyngeal) cancer, anal cancer and genital warts.
- Tdap vaccine, which is a booster shot against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Pertussis (whooping cough) can keep kids out of school and activities for weeks. It can also be spread to babies who are too young to be vaccinated, and this disease can be very dangerous and sometimes deadly for babies.
- 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. Parents should also be vaccinated to protect themselves and to help protect their children.
For a complete list of vaccinations required in the state of Missouri, click here.