Resources for parents of at-risk and troubled teens.



January 2010

Important facts about teen immunizations

by Staff, on body, cancer, chickenpox, diseases, hepatitis, immune system, important facts, infection, measles, mumps, rubella, teen, teen immunizations, teens vaccinated, tetanus, vaccination, vaccine

So, why are immunizations important for teens? Teen immunization is important because more and more teens are exposed to diseases such as measles, whooping cough, and mumps, among others. This is because humans can get around more easily due to advances in technology and since these diseases are highly infectious, they spread very fast. If many teens are immunized, these diseases will not spread as fast. Some of the diseases that teens are immunized against can be fatal, thus the need for immunization.

Doctors recommend that all teens should be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, this is done at the same time and is called a Tdap vaccine, measles, mumps and rubella, through the MMR vaccine, hepatitis B, meningococcal disease which is a common form of meningitis, HPV or human papilloma virus for girls, polio, and chickenpox, if you did not get the disease as a child. You should check with your parents to find out if you received some of the vaccines such as MMR as a kid. Vaccinations for teens are also recommended by all major medical associations. To learn about other diseases that you should be immunized against, you should visit the Vaccines for Children or VFC program website.

Teens should also get vaccinated against other diseases that the general population gets vaccinated against, especially when going to different parts of the country or the world. These are vaccinations against malaria, asthma, diabetes, yellow fever, influenza, and many other diseases.

Vaccination in teens is most effective when it is done early on – the ideal age is actually before teenage years, between the ages of 11 and 12 years. However, there is no harm in getting the shots later on in life.

You should note that there are teens who should not be vaccinated. These are teens with weakened immune systems such as those suffering from AIDS and certain types of cancers. Vaccinations should not be done on teens who are receiving treatments such as chemotherapy and those who are taking medication that lowers the body’s immune system. Pregnant teenage girls should consult their doctors before getting any vaccination shot. These teens should not get vaccinations because immunization works by introducing small doses of the ‘bug’ into the body so that the body can develop the necessary antibodies to fight bigger outbreaks.

A brief summary of the major diseases that you need to be vaccinated against from Teens & Vaccinations should help you appreciate the need for vaccination. Hepatitis B is acquired through contact with body fluids and blood and it can lead to chronic infection that could lead to liver cancer later on in life. Chickenpox is mild in toddlers and young kids, but as you grow older, the effects are severe and they include pneumonia and bacterial skin infections. Tetanus causes lockjaw and it affects those who get wounds, even small wounds. Measles not only causes misery, it can lead to serious complications. Rubella can be passed by pregnant girls to the unborn baby and this results in sever birth defects. Staff