Have an unusually large number of parents been inquiring lately about vaccinations for their 11- and 12-year-old children? Credit a recently launched CDC campaign.
The agency is promoting checkups to implement its current recommendations for three preteen vaccines:
• MCV4, which protects against meningitis and its complications;
• Tdap, a booster against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis;
• And for girls, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which protects against the most common types of cervical cancer.
“The preteen checkup is an important time to make sure young patients are also caught up on such childhood immunizations as measles-mumps-rubella, chickenpox, and hepatitis B,” says Renee Jenkins, MD, president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). “Depending on their health and medical history, some preteens may require additional vaccines.”
The AAP is cosponsoring the campaign with the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Society for Adolescent Medicine, and the CDC. A Web site provides information about the vaccines and the diseases they prevent (www.cdc.gov/vaccines/spec-grps/preteens. Accessed September 10, 2007).
Pertussis is becoming increasingly common, with more than 25,000 cases reported in 2005, according to the CDC. Meningococcal infections are seen much less frequently. Between 1,400 and 2,800 cases occur annually in the United States, but 10% of the teens who contract it die and another 15% are permanently disabled.
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, with about 20 million people currently infected. Vaccination before a girl becomes sexually active confers protection afterward.