If you thought the vaccine "fun" was done with the toddler days, we have some not-so-great news for you. Yes, high schoolers and kids starting college still have a few rounds of shots coming on their vaccine schedule — think of it as just another way to prep them for the real world by developing more immunity to disease.
To avoid any confusion, we've put together a quick go-to list that you can use to get your teen up-to-date before they start school. As with any medical decision, parents should check with their primary care physician to determine the best course of action for their child.
The Centers for Disease Control Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends following a specific vaccination schedule for teens entering high school or college. Each state, however, has its own vaccine requirements, so parents should check with their state health department. In addition, some states allow exceptions to the standard vaccination requirements based on religious or personal reasons.
The CDC suggests parents of college freshmen determine if their child needs "catch-up doses" — vaccines the child should have received at a younger age. According to the CDC, some colleges may also require students to be vaccinated against diseases like meningitis to live in residential housing.
As children get older, some early childhood vaccines may wear off and compromise a child's protection against certain diseases. In addition, children generally develop risks for more diseases as they approach their teen years. Parents should not assume their child received all their CDC recommended vaccinations before they enter high school or college.
The CDC recommends the following vaccines, starting with a child's 11/12-year-old checkup, or as soon as possible if he or she is older and hasn't received them:
Next Up: Catch-up vaccines
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