Vaccinations For Teenagers
In keeping with the famous adage, ‘prevention is better than cure,’ and with the growing number of health issues one comes across today, immunization is equally important in pre-teens and teens as ¡lis for children. The prevention of a disease, besides stopping illnesses in their tracks, is more cost effective and also saves one the trouble of going through emotional stress when having to deal with a diseased individual. Vaccinations for teenagers mainly constitute the following components:
- Catch up vaccination
- Booster doses
- Vaccines for the age
Catch Up Vaccination
Individuals who are not vaccinated previously as per the immunization schedule come under this component. These include Hep B, Hep A, IPV, typhoid vaccine, MMR and pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. These should be given likewise as in the immunization schedule.
Not unexpectedly but many teenagers have not received vaccines that are recommended to protect them from possibly life-threatening diseases
Boosters are given to enhance the immunity of an individual who was immunized previously for the same pathogen. Over a period of time, the protective titres of antibodies against them, reduces and therefore these doses helps them to gain protective levels.
This is given as a booster dose to a healthy teenager to prevent tetanus diphtheria and pertussis. Tetanus death toll is about one in five affected and it can be avoided with the booster. Tetanus affects brain and nervous system along with painful muscle spasms and lockjaw.
Diphtheria, a communicable disease that causes dyspnoea can affect the heart and nervous system. It is dangerous because of its effective communicability.
Pertusis on the other hand, is extremely contagious effecting the respiratory system and an irresistible cough is the most disturbing symptom.
- Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV)
- Meningococcal conjugate vaccine( MCV)
Teenagers are now becoming sexually active earlier when compared to the past decade. And the human papilloma virus (HPV) is transmitted via sex and skin to skin contact. This group of viruses cause cancers of the cervix, anus, vagina, vulva, penis, oropharynx and genital warts. Vaccination against human papilloma virus is recommended for both sexes at the age of 11 or 12 years to attain immunity by the time they become sexually active.
Condoms are less effective as a protective measure against this virus as there is still risk of contact with the lesion. Gardasil against the strains of 6, 11, l6and 18 is found to be effective as it is 70 per cent successful against cervical cancer and 90 per cent against genital warts. Cevarix for the strains 16 and 18 is 70 per cent protective against cervical cancer only.
Dosage – Three doses, two months and six months after the first dose.
Meningococcus infects the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), meninges and spinal cord. It is often life-threatening and causes learning disabilities and hearing loss with significant injury to the central nervous system. Also, infection in the blood causes septicaemia causing shock.
Dosage – It constitute two shots. First, at the age of 11 or 12 similar to HPV and if an individual skips it, hehe can get it administered from 13 through 15 years and the second dose at the age of 16 years. Those who delay the first dose can take it from 16, through 18 years. If the first dose is administered at 16 years, no booster is required.
Tetanus shots at the age of 10 and 16 years act as boosters against tetanus. For pregnant ladies, two doses of tetanus toxoid are recommended and if she is immunized within three years, a single dose will suffice. Henceforth, vaccination in different age groups should be considered to prevent succumbing to pathogens. One can have a healthy productive life with a little precaution.