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BACK TO SCHOOL: Pencils. Notebooks. Backpack. VACCINES.

Earthling on Uranus
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08/24/2011 01:07 PM
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BACK TO SCHOOL: Pencils. Notebooks. Backpack. VACCINES.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Backpack. Notebooks. Whooping cough shot?

If you haven't worried about back-to-school shots since your tween or teen was entering kindergarten, better put vaccines on the to-do list.

Older kids need a few new immunizations starting at age 11, including a shot to guard against the worrisome resurgence of whooping cough.

And for the first time this year, 16-year-olds are supposed to get a booster shot, too, for a scary type of meningitis.

CDC's statistics show that 54 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds had gotten vaccinated by 2009.

But the booster dose is new advice — scientists only recently learned that that first dose wears off after five years.

So if your child didn't get vaccinated until, say, 13 and now is 18 and heading for college, Wharton says don't forget the booster.

—Finally for girls ages 11 to 12, there's the HPV vaccine for strains of human papillomavirus that can cause cervical cancer.

The idea is to start the three doses needed early enough to be fully vaccinated well before the girl becomes sexually active.

But in 2009, only 27 percent of girls ages 13 to 17 had gotten all three doses.

"We were very disappointed in those numbers," Wharton says. cool2

[link to news.yahoo.com]
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