Public Health officials urge preteen vaccinations

Staff Report

To help protect adolescents against dangerous diseases, the Santa Barbara County and California public health departments recognized Feb. 11-17 as Preteen Vaccine Week and urged parents to have their children vaccinated.

Health officials say that by staying up-to-date on recommended vaccinations, people can protect themselves, their families, and their communities from serious, life-threatening illnesses.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health recommend that children receive the following vaccines:

  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV): The vaccine is safe, effective, and can protect against infection with the types of HPV that can cause certain cancers.
  • Pertussis: Whooping cough can cause severe coughing spells. Preteens suffering from pertussis can be hospitalized and miss weeks of school. State law requires all incoming seventh-graders to get a booster shot.
  • Bacterial meningitis: This is a very serious infection that can cause brain damage, arm and leg amputations, kidney damage and death. It is considered crucial for all preteens to get one shot of quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine at 11 or 12 years old and a booster at 16.
  • Influenza: Flu is widespread in California. Everyone six months old or older should be immunized against the flu each year.

For more information, visit www.ShotsForSchool.org or www.GetImmunizedCA.org.