Vaccines for Teenagers
Vaccines protect you from getting severely ill. Typically, they involve an injection of a small amount of the virus or disease that is just enough for your immune system to build up a defense against without becoming seriously sick. As such, you protect your health and potentially, your life. This is why certain vaccines for teenagers are important.
Interestingly, vaccines have even been attributed to helping eradicate certain diseases. For instance, before a smallpox vaccine was created, 3,000 Canadians died from smallpox each year. Since the development of a vaccine, there has not been a case of the smallpox across the globe since 1977.
Today, most individuals get a handful of vaccines as children, and another handful as teenagers. In this article, we explore vaccines for teenagers and why it is important that your teen gets the proper vaccinations they need.
How Vaccines Work
Vaccines take a huge chunk of time to develop. The first step involves studying the virus or bacteria and understanding it. From there, researchers create a dead or weakened virus, or bacterial particles that are just enough to cause an appropriate immune response within your body. From this immune response, your body creates antibodies that are able to effectively fight off the disease without symptoms or ill health.
But before the general public has the availability to vaccines, various clinical trials and tests must take place. This helps scientists determine if the vaccine works and how long it lasts.
Due to the lengthy process of developing a vaccine, they are considered very safe. After the vaccine has been approved, it still undergoes vigorous development and testing to ensure it maintains the highest standards possible. Ultimately, these quick shots to your arm may help save your life and keep your body healthy and strong.
The Necessary Vaccinations for Teenagers
The necessary vaccinations for teenagers:
- Hepatitis B (two doses). Hepatitis B can lead to liver infection, threatening a person’s life, and is easily spread through an exchange in bodily fluids.
- Meningococcal disease. This fatal bacterium can lead to infections of the brain lining or the blood. This shot and the one above are typically done in grade seven.
- HPV. HPV shots are available for females during grade eight. This prevents the human papillomavirus, which causes warts.
- Tdap vaccine. This vaccine helps protect your teen from Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (whooping cough). It is administered in grades 9 to 11, or ages 14 to 16.
Surprisingly, it is the law in Canada for children in primary or secondary school to have immunizations for:
- Meningitis (meningococcal disease)
- Whooping cough (pertussis)
- Chickenpox (varicella)
This means that if your child or teen does not have their proper shots, they may not be allowed to attend public school until they do. It’s not only about protecting your teen, it’s also about protecting other children attending the school or their parents from getting sick.
Are There Side Effects to Vaccines?
The majority of individuals do not experience any side effects from vaccines. Usually, the person may feel soreness where the shot was administered. However, this typically subsides within a few days. Either way, most side effects are mild. Othercommon side effects:
- Muscle or joint aches
Yet, it is important to note that these side effects are stemming from your immune system’s response. They are not a bad thing. In fact, it means the vaccine is working and causing your body to create the necessary defense.
In terms of serious side effects, only about one or two individuals out of a million will experience a serious allergic reaction. This is frequently why after receiving a vaccine, a person must stick around their doctor’s office to ensure this does not happen, and if it does, they are close to medical care if needed.
Find Out Your Teen’s Vaccination Schedule
At your teen’s next doctor’s appointment, check in and make sure their vaccines are all up to date. Often, schools will administer vaccines to all students and offer proof of it. Make sure you and your teen bring this proof to your doctor’s office, so they have a record of it. You can also often check to see if your teen is up to date with their vaccinations by checking with public health. Most national health departments have a record that you can ask for.
In addition, if you travel or take a vacation out of the country, it is a good idea to consult with a health travel agency or your doctor to know which vaccines might be a good idea before you leave. It’s best to plan to do this at least six weeks before your trip. Remember, most vaccines might hurt for a few seconds, but they provide immunity for much longer.