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Preteen and Teen Immunizations


Hepatitis A vaccine (HepA)

The hepatitis A vaccine requires two doses, administered at least six months apart. At one time the vaccine was only recommended for children who lived in communities that where known to be at higher risk, such as Native American villages, rural areas, and some Hispanic communities, or for children and parents known to travel to areas where the disease is prevalent.

However, as vaccination has proven to significantly lower the occurrence of the disease even in areas where it was seldom seen, current guidelines suggest routine vaccination of all children between 12 and 23 months of age, and certain groups of older children who were never vaccinated, in order to create a similar reduction in hepatitis A throughout the general population.

Why do we need this vaccine? It's easier to travel than ever and there is also more immigration today. Hepatitis A is rarely deadly in children, but it can be debilitating. And children can spread hepatitis A to elderly or ill relatives in whom the disease is much more serious.

Hepatitis B vaccine (HepB)

Because of the prevalence of high-risk activities, such as drug use and sexual activity among teens,hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for any youths who have not been previously vaccinated. A two-dose series of Recombivax HB® is licensed for children aged 11–15 years. There are also three-dose vaccines available for children of this age.

Why do we need this vaccination? Unlike Hepatitis A, this virus can kill and/or cause chronic liver disease and kidney failure. It is particularly common in Asia. Immunization is now required before entering school.

Inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV)

For children who received an all-IPV or all-oral poliovirus (OPV) series, a fourth dose is not necessary if the third dose was administered prior to the age of 4. If both OPV and IPV were used as part of a series, a total of four doses should be administered, regardless of the child's current age.

There has been no polio in the Western Hemisphere since 1987 but, again, easy international travel can increase the risk of transmission.

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