As school starts back up it's a good time for parents to review their child's immunization record. Depending on your child's age, there may be additional vaccines the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends. Jayme Garcia, Smith's Pharmacist, stopped by to share the following tips.
What vaccines do teens need going back to school?
It is recommended that 11-12 year olds - so those going into 7th grade - receive 3 vaccines: Tdap, (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), HPV (human papilloma virus) and meningococcal vaccines. Children are vaccinated against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) as babies, but as they get older immunity starts to wear off and a booster dose is needed at the 11-12 year old mark. Tetanus protects against infection caused by bacteria that may enter the body through cuts in the skin. Diphtheria and Pertussis is spread airborne from coughing or sneezing.
What about Meningococcal conjugate (MCV4/MenACWY)?
Children should also receive the meningococcal vaccine at 11-12 years of age, followed by a booster at the age of 16. This vaccine helps protect the body against bacteria which can infect the fluid and lining around the brain and spinal cord. This is known as meningitis. It can also cause infections of the bloodstream (bacteremia and sepsis). Meningococcal infections spread when people have close or lengthy contact with each other through saliva, like coughing or kissing, or just from living in the same place.
You also mentioned human papilloma virus (HPV). Tell us more about this vaccine.
The human papillomavirus or HPV vaccine protects against infections that can cause a range of cancers and genital warts in both males and females. Depending on when the vaccine series is started it requires either 2 or 3 doses to be complete. Starting early - before the age of 15 - is best so that only 2 doses are required. Rates for starting and completing this vaccine series are extremely low in Utah compared to the national average and compared to the rates of the other 2 vaccines we`ve discussed. This is a cancer-preventing vaccine and I strongly recommend it.
Why are vaccines so important?
Vaccines prevent serious illness and even death from infections. They are extremely important not only to protect the individual receiving the vaccine but to protect those most vulnerable in our communities, including young infants and others who, for whatever reason, cannot be vaccinated and are unprotected.
Smith's Pharmacists can administer all of the required immunizations?
Yes, many schools require proof that children have received their shots before registering for school, and Smith`s pharmacists provide all of the vaccines we discussed today. It`s very convenient - no appointment is necessary.
Where can our viewers learn more?
Stop by your local Smith's Pharmacy and speak with the pharmacist, or visit our website: smithsfoodanddrug.com and click on the pharmacy link.