Craig health briefs for Sept. 13, 2014: Time to check your child’s vaccine record | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig health briefs for Sept. 13, 2014: Time to check your child’s vaccine record

Lauren Blair

Several adolescent vaccines are given in a series, which if not finished leaves your child incompletely protected. Protection provided by some childhood vaccines, such as pertussis (whooping cough), begins to wear off by adolescence. Three vaccines are recommended at age 11 to 12. If your teen missed these shots, Visiting Nurse Association officials advise they should "catch up." The shots can be given at any medical office visit, camp or sports physical:

• Tdap vaccine is a booster against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Pertussis, or whooping cough, can keep kids out of school and activities for weeks. It can also be spread to babies, which can be very dangerous. In Colorado, the Tdap vaccine is required for entry into sixth grade.

• Meningococcal vaccine protects against meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is caused by bacteria and is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis (a serious infection around the brain and spinal cord) and its complications. A booster dose is recommended at age 16.

• HPV vaccine protects girls and women against the types of HPV that most commonly cause cervical cancer. HPV vaccine can also protect boys against genital warts and other cancers. Immunization against HPV is a series of three shots throughout six months.

Every year, children and adolescents should receive an influenza (flu) vaccine too, because even healthy kids get the flu, which can be serious.

For families with health insurance, all or most of the cost of vaccines is covered. For families without insurance, children 18 and younger are eligible to get vaccines at low or no cost through the Vaccines For Children program. You can find out more about the VFC program or about these vaccines by contacting your health care provider, the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association at 970-824-8233 or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/teens or 1-800-CDC-INFO.

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