Andrea DeMets, MD, is a pediatrician at Cardon Children's Medical Center,
Question: My child is going to middle school, sixth grade. Should I renew her immunizations because she is entering a new school?
Answer: Vaccines, or immunizations, are not just for babies and young children. It is important that you talk with your pediatrician regarding the vaccines your daughter might need now that she is getting older.
One common misconception is that vaccines last for decades. However, as children age and their bodies develop, the protection provided by some early childhood vaccines can wear off. Children also generally develop risk for more diseases as they approach their teen years.
The Center for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices current recommends at least three vaccines for children during their 11-12 year-old checkup. Those vaccines are: Tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap); Meningococcal (MCV4); and, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) which is a series of vaccines. The HPV vaccine was only recently added in June 2006 and is currently recommended for females only.
Other vaccines you should talk with your pediatrician about, in case they did not receive all recommended doses when younger include:
- Hepatitis B series
- Polio series
- Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) series
- Varicella (chickenpox) series
- Pneumococcal polysaccharide (PPV)
- Hepatitis A
Your child’s pediatrician should be able to tell you which of these vaccines fits your daughter’s current immunization needs and most can be done with limited physician visits.