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Put Vaccinations on the Top of the List

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August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), an annual observance highlighting the importance of getting recommended vaccines throughout your life. Here are recommendations for immunizing school-age children, as suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

You have the power to protect your children against serious diseases like measles, cancers caused by HPV and whooping cough. So as your children head back to school, make sure vaccination is at the top of your checklist.

Preteens and teens need four vaccines to protect against serious diseases:

  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine to protect against meningitis and bloodstream infections
  • HPV vaccine to protect against cancers caused by HPV
  • Tdap vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough
  • A yearly flu vaccine to protect against seasonal flu.

During NIAM, talk to your child’s health care provider about whether you have missed any routine vaccines. Some vaccines require more than one dose to provide your child with the best protection, so each recommended dose is important. Make sure your child is up-to-date.

Vaccines work with your child’s natural defenses to help them safely develop protection from diseases. Vaccines are tested to ensure they are safe and effective and also are monitored after they are in use. Like all medical products, vaccines can sometimes cause side effects, but the most common side effects are mild and go away quickly.

Vaccine-preventable diseases are still a threat. Some vaccine-preventable diseases, like chickenpox and pertussis (whooping cough), remain common in the United States. Since 2010, the CDC sees between 10,000 and 50,000 cases of whooping cough each year in the United States. Most of the deaths each year are in young babies.

Some diseases are no longer common in this country because of vaccination. However, if we stopped vaccinating, the few cases we have in the United States could very quickly become tens or hundreds of thousands of cases. The 2019 measles outbreaks are a reminder of how quickly diseases can spread when children aren’t vaccinated. Some infections that are prevented by preteen vaccines, like HPV, can lead to serious health problems later in life. Over 34,000 men and women in the United States are diagnosed with cancers caused by HPV each year.

View the CDC’s parent-friendly immunization schedule to see which vaccines your children need, whether they are babies or teenagers. The immunization schedule is designed to provide immunity early in life, before children are likely to be exposed to serious, potentially life-threatening diseases. We also encourage you to visit the CDC’s Interactive Vaccine Guide, which provides information on the vaccines recommended during your pregnancy and throughout your child’s life.

Put immunizations at the top of your to do list! Schedule an appointment for your child with a North Oaks Primary Care provider today at or by calling 1 (844) APPT-NOW (277-8669).