Kids Health Matters: Vaccines for older children

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Most vaccines are given in early childhood, but there are also important ones for adolescents and even teens headed to college.

Kiara and Aniyah Brown share a love of laughter and literature. Kiara is a budding poet.

"I like to write love, like sad sometimes, something to boost people up," she said.

And they're both up-to-date on their vaccinations.

Dr. Kristen Feemster at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia says there are 3 important vaccines for 11 to 13 year-olds.

The first is T-Dap, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis - or whooping cough.

"It's a booster that gives you a good boost from the vaccine you received when you were a baby," said Dr. Feemster.

It's especially important because whooping cough, which can be deadly for babies, has been on the rise. Experts suspect 2 factors are involved - a drop in vaccination rates, and a less effective vaccine.

Also, on the list is the HPV vaccine. It protects against a virus that can cause cancer.

The first dose is usually at 11 or 12 years and the second 6 to 12 months later.

Dr. Feemster says the third essential for teens is 2 doses of the vaccine for type-A meningitis.

"Four types of bacteria that can cause meningitis, another serious illness," she said.

Teens and young adults have a higher risk of infections because they can be in close contact with others playing sports, socializing or in dormitories.

A vaccine is also available now for the B-strains of meningitis. Many colleges require meningitis vaccinations, so be sure to check if you have a teenager heading off this Fall.

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