HPV is a vaccine to prevent cancer. Girls vaccinated against HPV have a 90% decreased risk of developing cervical cancer as compared to unvaccinated girls. We now know that the HPV vaccine can prevent almost 70% of throat cancers. The vaccine also can almost entirely eliminate the risk of genital warts. While not deadly, genital warts cause great emotional distress and are very difficult and painful to treat. The recommended schedule is for both girls and boys by vaccinated against HPV starting at age 11 or 12 but vaccine as young as 9 is allowable. For anyone not previously immunized against HPV, vaccine is recommended up to 26 years of age and in certain cases, after consultation with your health care provider, up to 45 years of age.
The meningococcal vaccine helps protect against a bacteria that can cause meningococcal disease. The infections are rare but can be very dangerous. 10-15 people out of 100 with meningococcal disease die. The meningococcal vaccine is the best way to protect teens and pre-teens from getting meningococcal disease. In Ohio, the meningococcal vaccine is required for entry into the 7th and 12th grades.
The Meningococcal ACWY immunization protects against four groups of bacteria (A, C, W, and Y) that commonly cause disease. The Meningococcal B vaccine protects against the B group of bacteria that commonly causes disease. It is completely safe to receive both immunizations during the same visit.
All 11 to 12 year olds should be vaccinated with a single dose of a meningococcal ACWY vaccine. Older teens need a second shot when they are 16 years old so they stay protected when their risk is the highest. Meningococcal B is given to anyone 16 through 23 years old to provide short term protection against most strains of serogroup B meningococcal disease; 16 through 18 years are the preferred ages for vaccination.
Meningococcal bacteria can be spread from person to person through saliva, most commonly through coughing or kissing. It can spread quickly when people are living in close quarters like college dorms. Vaccination is needed before exposure.
The meningoccal vaccine has been studied very carefully and is safe. The CDC and FDA continue to monitor the safety of vaccines including all the meningococcal vaccinations available. The CDC uses 3 systems to monitor the safety of vaccines including the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), Vaccines Safety Datalink (VSD), and the Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment Project (CISA). The vaccine can cause mild side effects like redness and soreness where the shot was given.
Most insurance companies cover the meningococcal ACWY vaccine. Ask your doctor about the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, which provides vaccines for children ages 18 and younger who are uninsured and Medicaid-eligible.
Influenza is an illness that infects the nose, throat and lungs. It spreads easily and quickly when infected people cough or sneeze. The flu can be mild or severe and, in some cases, cause death. It’s important for children to receive the flu vaccine not only to protect themselves, but to protect others whose bodies may not be able to fight the virus, including infants, the elderly and people with chronic health problems.
Preteens and teens are at risk for diseases and need the protection of vaccines to keep them healthy. As kids get older, protection from some childhood vaccines begins to wear off and some vaccines work better when given during adolescence.
Because different strains of the flu circulate every year, it’s important to get a new vaccine each year