Help keep your pre-teen healthy and safe with immunizations.
As kids get older protection from some childhood vaccines begin to wear off. You should check on your child’s immunizations/shot status before the start of middle school, high school and before college. A health check-up is the right time for your pre-teen to get the Tdap/Tetanus, meningitis shot and HPV vaccines. All kids including pre- teens should also get the flu vaccine every year. There are some immunizations which will be required for your child to attend middle school this upcoming year.
TETANUS, DIPHTHERIA, PERTUSSIS (Tdap)
Young children are protected when they get the DTaP vaccine, but protection wears off as kids get older, so your pre-teen may need a booster shot known as Tdap. Ask the doctor to review about whether your child may need to get it now.
Meningococcal meningitis is a very serious bacterial infection which affects the brain and spinal cord. This infection can lead to brain damage, hearing loss, learning disabilities, and even death. Other types of meningococcal disease can lead to loss of an arm or leg.
All preteen and teens, ages 11 through 18 years, should get the meningococcal vaccine. A health check-up at ages 11 or 12 is the best time for adolescents to receive this vaccine. If your teenager missed getting the vaccine, ask the doctor about getting it now, especially if your teenager is about to move into a college dorm.
HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS (HPV) DISEASE
The vaccine originally was recommended for girls ages 11 and 12 but boys and young men may get this vaccine. The recommendation is for pre-teens to start the series before they could be exposed to HPV. Ask the doctor about getting them now.
INFLUENZA (FLU) VACCINE
The flu is a contagious infection of the nose, throat and lungs that is caused by a virus. Most people sick with the flu will recover in a few days to less than 2 weeks. Pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections are three examples of complications from flu. Kids with chronic health problems like asthma and diabetes are especially at high risk of developing serious flu complications. Children may pass the virus to others for more than 7 days. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year. It is very important for children with asthma or diabetes to get vaccinated to help decrease their risk of severe flu illness. Pre-teens should get a flu vaccine in September or as soon as it is available each year.
Make sure to ask the doctor if your pre-teen is up-to-date on these childhood vaccines too: Chickenpox (Varicella), Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR), and Polio.