National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) is a reminder that we all need vaccines. To celebrate the importance of immunizations throughout life—and make sure children are protected with all the vaccines they need—the Alamosa Immunization Coalition is proudly participating in NIAM.
Parents- Protect Your Child's Health
“Getting children all of the vaccines recommended by CDC’s immunization schedule is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their child’s health,” said Julie Geiser, Director of Alamosa County Public Health Department. “If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to check with your provider to find out what vaccines your child needs.”
Most schools require children to be current on vaccinations before enrolling to protect the health of all students. Schools are susceptible to outbreaks of infectious diseases because students can easily transmit illnesses to one another as a result of being in close confines, uncovered coughs and poor hand washing. School-age children can then further spread illness to their families and others with whom they come in contact.
Vaccines- Best Protection Against Serious Illness
Vaccines offer the best known protection against many serious illnesses. Young children will have protection against 14 serious diseases by age 2 by getting vaccines according to the recommended schedule. School-age children need boosters for some of the highly contagious diseases like pertussis (whooping cough).
Young school-age children:
Kids age 4 to 6 are due for boosters of four vaccines: DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis), chickenpox, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and polio. A yearly flu vaccine is also recommended for everyone over age 6 months.
Preteens and teens:
As kids get older, pertussis vaccine begins to wear off, so a booster is needed. Tdap, the booster against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, is a school requirement at age 11 or 12.
Preteens and teens are also at increased risk for some infections, so it is highly recommended they get meningococcal and HPV vaccines. Meningococcal disease is a serious, often fatal, bacterial infection that most often causes serious swelling around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) or a serious blood infection (meningococcemia). Meningococcal vaccine is recommended at age 11, with a booster dose at age 16.
HPV vaccine is recommended for both boys and girls over age 9, to protect against the types of human papillomavirus that most commonly cause cancer. HPV vaccine is a series of three doses, with the second and third doses one month and six months after the first.
Lastly, preteens and teens should also get an annual flu vaccine.
For more information about vaccines, contact your medical provider or local public health department.