Health officials are urging parents to have their 11- to 12-year-old children vaccinated now in order to protect them against whooping cough and other dangerous diseases.
San Mateo County Health System is promoting Preteen Vaccine Week, February 10-16, as part of a statewide effort to remind families of preteens about recommended and school required immunizations for 11-and 12-year olds.
Health officials recommend that parents take this opportunity to schedule a checkup with their preteen’s doctor to make sure their immunizations are up-to-date.
“Completing immunizations before the end of the school year is one of the most important and easiest things that parents can do to protect their children’s future,” said Dr. Scott Morrow, San Mateo County Health Officer. “Protection from some childhood vaccines can weaken over time, putting children and adolescents at risk for serious diseases, like whooping cough, that can easily spread.”
This coming fall, all incoming 7th graders must provide proof of having immunization against whooping cough (Tdap) before starting school. With the whooping cough (also known as pertussis) infections happening nationwide, there is no reason to wait for the new school year. Health professionals urge parents to have their children vaccinated now to protect them against whooping cough, and to meet the school requirement.
In addition to Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis/whooping cough), there are several other vaccines recommended for all preteens and teens, including the meningococcal vaccine, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine series, and a second chickenpox shot (if they haven’t received the second dose of vaccine and never had chickenpox infection). The flu season also runs through April, and health officials recommend that everyone ages 6 months and older receive a seasonal flu vaccine every year.
Many vaccine-preventable diseases spread easily and can lead to missed weeks of school, or very serious consequences, including death. Getting a complete check-up can help your preteen not just be healthy, but also succeed in sports and academics. Remember, immunization can protect your child throughout their adolescent years and beyond.
If your preteen does not have health insurance or a doctor, please contact San Mateo County Immunization Program at (650) 573-2877 to get a recommendation on where to go. For more information about vaccine requirements for preteens and teens, visit www.smchealth.org/immunizations or www.shotsforschool.org.