They grow up so fast — But your children still need their vaccinations

Where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday your toddler was getting well-baby check-ups at the pediatrician. Now as those preteen years turn into teenage years, you need to know what vaccinations are important for your young adult.

Washington University Clinical Associates pediatrician Anna Huger, MD, explains. “Families may need to be reminded that just as we prepared their infant for the world with vaccines, their teenager is now entering the adult world and needs our protection. The vaccines that we give at this age boost their childhood immunity and prepare them for new foes like HPV. “

Yearly visits to the pediatrician for preteens and teenagers are the best way to make sure they are getting the vaccinations they need. Some vaccines work better when they’re given to children older than 11. Also, some childhood vaccines need a “booster” so kids stay protected against an illness.

Here are the most important vaccines for older children and teenagers:

INFLUENZA:  Protects against the flu. Get vaccinated every fall, before the flu season starts. (Note: this vaccine is no longer available in the intranasal mist form as it was found to be not effective)

HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS (HPV):  Vaccinating both girls AND boys is the best way to prevent the spread of HPV — a common sexually transmitted disease that can cause cervical cancer, as well as other kinds of cancer. Series of shots can start as early as age 11 or 12.      

IMPORTANT — This can be a two-dose series, if patient is younger than 15 years old when he or she receives the first  dose (shot), and gets the second dose 6-12 months later.  It is a three-dose series, if patient is older than age 15 when he or she receives first  dose.

TETANUS, DIPHTHERIA AND ACELLULAR PERTUSSIS (Tdap): Serves as a booster for the DTap vaccine that kids received as infants.  Booster should be given at age 11 or 12.

MENINGOCOCCAL:  Protects against bacteria that can cause meningitis infections and infections in the bloodstream. First dose should be given at age 11 or 12, and a booster at age 16.

Dr. Hugar is accepting new patients. To make an appointment, please call 314-454-5500.

Purely Pediatrics
St. Louis Children’s Specialty Care Center
13001 N. Outer Forty Road, Suite 330
Town & Country, MO 63017

Not sure what vaccines your child needs?

Download the  brochure from St. Louis Children’s Hospital: The  Importance of Being Immunized