Posted: Dec 11, 2012 8:00 AM
 
When it comes to disease prevention, we all know what an important role vaccines play. But, did you know your tween could be missing out on a few essential ones?

When many of us think of vaccines, we tend to think they're a thing of our baby and little kid's past. Many parents are surprised to find out that their newly crowned tween is due for a few more shots. And parents aren't the only ones surprised. Many a tween have unhappily discovered that their yearly check-up involved a few pokes.

But, they're important and parents should prepare tweens ahead of time and counsel them on the importance of vaccination and prevention of potentially seriously diseases. Here's the lowdown on 3 important vaccines your tween (age 11 and up) needs now:

TdaP

Also commonly known as Adacel or Boostrix, this Tetanus/Diptheria/Pertussis booster is important to extend your tween's immunity to these pathogens. With recent pertussis (whooping cough) outbreaks and the finding that immunity to pertussis wanes over time, getting this vaccine in a timely manner is essential.

Many California parents and tweens found this out the hard way when unable to enroll their 7th graders (on up) into school without this booster.syringe

Meningococcal

This vaccine protects tweens/teens/young adults from this potentially devastating and fatal infection that causes meningitis. It's incredibly important for college freshman and/or any person living with many people in close quarters.

Because immunity has been found to wane, your child needs his/her first dose at 11-12 years of age and a booster at age 16 or older.

HPV

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). While there are over 100 types of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) types, a few of them have been known to cause cervical cancer. This first anti-cancer vaccine contains 4 types of HPV, 2 of which are associated with the development of cervical cancer.

This is a 3 dose series and studies thus far have demonstrated safety, efficacy, and long term benefit for both girls and boys. Yes, boys too. They can unknowingly transmit HPV to their sexual partners. Getting your tween vaccinated now, protects him/her before becoming sexually active.

For information on the myths and facts about HPV, click here.

Dr. Mom's bottom line^When it comes to vaccines, don't forget about your tween! Get them in to their pediatrician/healthcare provider for their annual check-up and make sure they are up to date. My 7-year-old son is already on the vaccine countdown... "No shots for 4 more years, mom!"

More on your tween

Could your tween be depressed?
3 Things your tween daughter wants you to know
5 Signs your tween may be entering early puberty

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