When most parents think of vaccines, they think of the annual flu shots they line up for or the pricks their infants and toddlers got in their chubby little thighs. But your middle schoolers and teenagers may need some protection too.
Dr. Samuel Katz, a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases and chairman emeritus of Duke's Department of Pediatrics, says there are three vaccines parents need to consider for their children.
Here's what's recommended:
- A vaccine to prevent meningococcal infection. Infants and young children, along with teenagers, are at most risk for a meningococcal infection. The infection, which can be serious and lead to death and other devastating effects, is sometimes found among those who live in college dorms.
- A vaccine to protect women against the human papillomaviruses, which are sexually transmitted and can cause cervical cancer. Studies have found that the vaccine can dramatically reduce the incidence of cervical cancer.
- A vaccine for whooping cough. Infants and young children have been immunized for years. But it appears that it protects children for only five to ten years. Adolescents need a booster.
For more about these vaccines and other recommendations for adolescents, check out www.dukehealth.org.