While most parents take their young kids into the pediatrician for well checkups each year, teenagers can often fall through the cracks. It is easy to skip those visits once your child is older and seems to need less attention, but it is a mistake to only take your teen in to the doctor when he or she is sick. One important thing that can get neglected is recommended vaccinations. Less than a third of teens received the Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) and meningitis vaccines in recent years. Teens also may need catch-up vaccines for shots they did not receive as kids, including varicella (chicken pox), Hepatitis B, HepatitisA, and MMR (measles, mumps, rubella). Some vaccines may also need a booster to continue to be effective.
How do you know if you are current on your teen's vaccinations? You can refer to your child's immunization record and compare it to the one issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), available at cdc.gov. You can also talk to your doctor about what your teenager may be missing. Once you know, you are then able to get him or her current on these vaccinations.
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