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Protecting Teens from Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

January 04, 2018 | Pharmacy

According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions of Americans aged 13-17 are under-vaccinated against serious infectious diseases.Walker TY, Elam-Evans LD, Singleton JA, et al. National, Regional, State, and Selected Local Area Vaccination Coverage Among Adolescents Aged 13–17 Years—United States, 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep Even with encouraging increases in the past few years, adolescent immunization rates still fall short of Healthy People 2020 goals for several routinely recommended vaccines, such as meningococcal meningitis and tetanus.

Only one-third of teens have received the second dose of the meningitis vaccine by the time they reach the age of 17 and less than half of adolescents have received an annual flu shot according to the CDC. However, there’s reason to believe there may be a gap between parents’ perception of their teenagers’ immunization history and reality.

According to a national poll on children’s health, 79 percent of parents report their child “definitely” received all the recommended vaccines for the child's age, while an additional 14 percent say their child was "probably" up-to-date.C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, 2017. Additionally, parents may be unaware of changes to the immunization schedule over time. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) reviews and approves the immunization schedule annually, periodically updating the recommendations to optimize efficacy for patients.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Recommended Immunization Schedule for Children and Adolescents Aged 18 Years or Younger, UNITED STATES, 2017.” Accessed November 2017.

For parents unsure of recommended vaccination schedules, pharmacists can be a resource. In addition to providing counsel on recommended vaccinations, pharmacists may provide convenient access to flu shots and other vaccinations at CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide.

As one of the most accessible health care professionals, pharmacists play a valuable role in helping families stay protected. From vaccinations to overall health management, pharmacists connect families to affordable and effective ways to help people on their path to better health.

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