Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Keeping kids safe with vaccines

Two summers ago, my then 10 year old came home from camp with whooping cough. I got a call from the New Hampshire Board or Health and a reminder from my pediatrician that vaccines protect against diseases, but the vaccine can wear off. In fact, the Tdap vaccine, a booster against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (aka whooping cough) is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for 11 or 12 year olds, but my daughter was just precocious.

Last summer, before my oldest daughter went to college, the pediatrician recommended a vaccine against meningitis, a disease that often strikes college students who live in close quarters.

And then there was the swine flu. College students around the country were sickened, quarantined and given swine and ‘regular’ flu vaccines if their colleges were lucky enough to have the supplies. Hallie’s college ran out, but she came home for the Jewish holidays and our pediatrician saved a dose for her.

All three of my daughters got the HPV vaccine, which protects girls from human papillomavirus, which can cause cervical cancer.

Our health insurance covered the cost of the vaccines. If you don’t have health insurance, your kids who are 18 and younger may be eligible to get the vaccines for free through the Vaccines for Children program (VFC). Visit the CDC Pre-teen Immunization Hub for a text-based versionVisit the CDC site for more information on pre-teen vaccines

I am writing this post as part of a CDC blogger outreach program. I may receive a small thank you gift from the CDC for my participation in raising awareness about pre-teen immunizations.

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