Congrats, you and your kids have almost made it through another year. It’s time to relax and enjoy the summer! However, for parents whose kids are entering kindergarten, middle school, or turning 16, it is also time to take steps to properly prepare kids for their next chapter, including immunizations.
As children grow and develop, they require a series of immunizations to protect them from a variety of diseases. Here's a closer look at each of these important stages and the recommended immunizations:
Children entering kindergarten typically need to be up-to-date on a variety of routine childhood vaccinations, including:
Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine: This vaccine protects against three serious viral diseases that can cause severe complications, including brain damage, deafness, and death.
Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine: This vaccine protects against the highly contagious varicella virus, which can cause a painful rash and lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia and brain damage.
Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) vaccine: This vaccine protects against three bacterial infections that can cause severe respiratory distress, paralysis, and even death.
Polio vaccine: This vaccine protects against the highly infectious poliovirus, which can cause paralysis and death.
Middle School Immunizations:
Children entering middle school may need additional immunizations, including the following, to protect them from specific diseases:
Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine: This vaccine protects against the virus that causes cervical cancer and genital warts, as well as several other types of cancer.
Meningococcal vaccine: This vaccine protects against meningitis, a serious bacterial infection that can cause swelling of the brain and spinal cord, leading to deafness, brain damage, and death.
Tdap vaccine: This vaccine is a booster for the DTaP vaccine and protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.
Age 16 Immunizations:
When teenagers turn 16, they may need additional immunizations, including:
Meningococcal vaccine: This vaccine is recommended for all teens at age 16, regardless of whether they received a dose during middle school.
The second dose of the HPV vaccine: The HPV vaccine is given in a series of two or three doses, depending on the age at which it is started. The second dose is typically given at age 16.
It's important for parents and caregivers to keep track of their child's immunization status and to ensure that they receive all recommended vaccines on time. By doing so, they can help protect their child's health and prevent the spread of serious infectious diseases. Parents and caregivers should consult with their Kids First provider to determine which vaccines are recommended and when they should be administered. Additionally, North Carolina schools have specific vaccination requirements for school attendance, so it's important to check with local health authorities to ensure that children are up-to-date on all required vaccines.
Schedule immunizations for your soon to be kindergartener, middle schooler and 16-year-old at Kids First Pediatrics. Raleigh: 919-250-3478, Clayton:919-267-1499
*This article is informational but is not a substitute for medical attention or information from your provider.