Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Back to School Checklist: Don’t Forget Vaccinations

By Angela Hilger, MD, FAAP
San Antonio Pediatrician

Back to school is more than school supplies and preparing for another exciting year of learning and experiences. Be sure to have your children vaccinated before they head back to keep them healthy. School-aged children are at an increased risk of contracting vaccine-preventable diseases because of their close association with other potentially ill children and adults.

  • Children aged 4 years should receive their booster doses of MMR (measles-mumps-rubella), varicella (chickenpox), DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis), and IPV (polio) prior to the start of pre-K or kindergarten.  
  • Adolescents aged 11 are due for their Tdap (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis booster) and meningitis vaccines prior to the start of seventh grade.  
  • A booster dose of the meningitis vaccine is recommended at age 16 years prior to the completion of high school.  
Age-appropriate vaccination protects the health of your child, your family, and your community. See your family physician to ensure your child’s immunizations are up to date for a healthy start to the new school year!

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2 comments :

  1. Vincent P. Fonseca, MD, MPH, FACPMAugust 13, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Yes, age-appropriate vaccination protects the health of children, families and our community. Age-appropriate vaccination as determined by the ACIP, AAP, AAFP, ACPM all recommended HPV vaccination for all adolescents 11-12 years old.

    Unfortunately, providers seeing children, including pediatricians, have room for improvement in HPV delivery. Unfortunately, this back to school checklist forgot to mention the HPV recommendation...although the links do. Unfortunately, this oversight is all too common.

    On the home page of the AAP:

    "On July 26, 2013, the CDC released an MMWR on HPV, showing low, stagnating vaccination rates. Pediatricians have a unique opportunity to address missed opportunities and vaccinate adolescents to protect against many forms of cancer. Resources for pediatricians to reduce office barriers and address parents' common concerns related to HPV vaccine are below.

    The Disease
    Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the US. More than 50% of sexually active men and women are infected with HPV at some time in their lives. There are about 40 different types of HPV that can cause infection. Certain types can cause genital warts in women and men, as well as serious health problems such as cervical cancer in women and other cancers in the genital area and throat in women and men.

    The Immunization
    HPV vaccine can prevent most genital warts and many of the cancers mentioned above. HPV vaccine is routinely recommended for both boys and girls in a 3-dose series. The first dose is given at 11-12 years of age, a second dose is given 1-2 months after the first dose, and a 3rd dose is given approximately 6 months after the first dose. The vaccine is also recommended for men up to 21 and women up to 26 years of age who did not receive it when they were younger.

    Younger children respond better to the immunization. This is why it is recommended at 11-12 years. It is also important to get the vaccine series before the first sexual encounter so that it can provide the most protection. Even with just one partner, the risk of being exposed to HPV is high."

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with Vincent that the HPV vaccine should be on the list too, although it's definitely good to remind people to vaccinate their children as there is a disturbing trend in society to shy away from one of the very best and most thoroughly proven ways to protect our children.

    ReplyDelete

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