Preteen and Teen Immunizations
The vaccination will prevent the development of at least 75% of cervical cancers in women, and maybe even more. Over time, we hope the number of Pap smear screens needed will also decrease. This is also the first vaccine that can prevent cancer. In addition to the connection to cervical cancer, HPV infections can cause head and neck cancers, including throat cancer. which the vaccine can help prevent.
It's recommended that the first meningococcal vaccine be given to children at age 11–12 years or to any previously unvaccinated adolescents at the time they have entered high school -- approximately the age of 15. A booster is recommended at age 16. It's also recommended that college freshmen living in dorms who were not previously vaccinated receive the vaccine. The immunization is recommended in children younger than 11 with special risks.
Why do we need this vaccine? The vaccine covers the most frequent types of the meningitis bacteria, except for serotype B. Recently there was another meningitis vaccine approved and recommended that covers serotype B. Currently the CDC recommends this for high risk patients over 10. Before vaccines, this bacteria was a scourge in the military and can cause panic on college campuses -- both places where young people live in crowded conditions.
Influenza (flu) vaccine
There are two types of flu vaccine: the first is an inactivated vaccine (TIV) given as an injection into the upper arm. It can be given to anyone 6 months of age and older. The second type, a nasal spray, was introduced more recently and is a live attenuated (LAIV) or "weakened" vaccine. It is not authorized for use in children younger than 2 years old or adults 50 or older.
Flu vaccines are recommended annually for everyone 6 months of age and older. Getting the vaccine is especially important for certain groups, including health care workers, people who may come into contact with those at high risk, those with certain risk factors, and everyone over the age of 65.
Why do we need these vaccines? The flu virus changes (mutates) every year. Often the vaccine is imperfect, but a bad year of the flu can cause major economic and educational disruption.