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As part of back-to-school preparations, making sure your children are vaccinated on time is an important step toward ensuring their long-term health. Vaccination also helps protect the health of classmates, friends, relatives and others in the community.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment recently approved two new vaccines — Meningococcal and Hepatitis A — for school-age children in the 2019-20 school year. You can see more details here about the requirements and how they are available at the Health Department.
In addition to a focus on back-to-school vaccinations, August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and public health experts say it’s an appropriate time to bring attention to four vaccines the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says teens and preteens need to protect against serious diseases.
“Vaccines reduce your child’s risk of infection by working with their body’s natural defenses to help them safely develop immunity to disease,” said Clinic Supervisor Kathy Colson. “Vaccines are among the most effective ways to protect against serious diseases. Many vaccine-preventable diseases are no longer common thanks to vaccines.”
In addition to the meningococcal conjugate vaccines — now required in Kansas — the CDC also recommends the HPV — human papilloma virus — vaccine to protect against cancers caused by HPV, as well as the Tdap vaccine to prevent tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough, and an annual flu vaccine.
For the HPV vaccination, the CDC now recommends two doses for all boys and girls ages 11-12.
“Boys and girls are both at risk for HPV and both at risk for certain types of cancers, and this vaccine can help prevent that,” said Dr. Thomas Marcellino, a Lawrence family practice physician and the Douglas County’s health officer.
You can watch this video of Lawrence doctors talking about the importance of the HPV vaccine and its safety and benefits, especially in preventing cancers later in life.
According to the CDC, HPV causes over 33,700 cases of cancer in men and women every year in the U.S. HPV vaccination can prevent 31,200 of these cancers from ever developing by preventing the infections that cause those cancers.
You can call the Health Department’s clinic at 785-843-0721 for more information, or visit the LDCHD Online Check-In App during clinic hours to get in line for immunizations.