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Pre-teens and Teenagers Need Shots Too!

Teenage boyApril is Adolescent Immunization Awareness Month in North Carolina.

The Mecklenburg County Health Department wants the community to know that vaccines aren’t just for infants; pre-teens and teens need shots too!

The shots needed for pre-teens (11-12 years) and teenagers (13-18 years) prevent serious, sometimes life-threatening infections. These shots are also needed in planning for college. Some shots are required for school by North Carolina law. Other shots are recommended, but are medically needed to prevent disease. Here are the vaccines that can prevent disease and save lives:

  1. Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Tdap) can prevent whooping cough. Getting this shot not only protects your pre-teen or teenager, but also those around them, especially infants who are too young to be fully vaccinated.

  2. Meningococcal vaccine prevents infections that can lead to brain damage, hearing loss, learning disabilities and loss of an arm or leg. Teenagers 15-19 have an increased risk of getting meningococcal disease.  About 1,000-2,600 people get meningococcal disease each year in the U.S.

  3. HPV vaccine protects against cervical cancer and, depending on the vaccine, may also protect against genital warts. Certain brands of HPV may be given to males and females. HPV is spread through any type of intimate genital contact---intercourse isn’t necessary. Three doses are recommended.

  4. Hepatitis A vaccine protects against infection of the liver that can be spread through unclean food and water, and from person to person.  It is recommended that pre-teens and teens have two doses.

  5. Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine can lead to severe skin infection, scars, pneumonia, brain damage or death. Before vaccination, 11,000 people were hospitalized for chickenpox each year in the U.S.  It is recommended that pre-teens and teens have two doses.

  6. Influenza vaccine should be given each year to everyone 6 months of age and older.

If you would like to protect your child’s health with any of the above shots at the Mecklenburg County Health Department, please call our appointment line at 704-336-6500. Otherwise, please ask your doctor if your pre-teen or teenager is up to date on shots. There may be a fee for some of these vaccines.


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