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Vaccine Checklist for Preteens and Teens

Why Should My Child Get the Vaccine?

Meningococcal disease can cause serious problems, including brain damage, hearing loss, seizures, and death. Antibiotics are effective for treating the illness. However, because it progresses so rapidly, early treatment is necessary. In some cases, by the time treatment is started, the infection has already caused so much damage that it's too late to prevent serious, long-term problems. The meningococcal conjugate vaccine offers the best protection against meningococcal disease.
 

When Should My Child Receive It?

Children should receive their first dose of MCV4 at age 11 or 12. They'll need a booster when they turn 16. Teenagers age 13 to 18 who have not yet been vaccinated should also get the vaccine. 
 
If your child receives their first dose between 13 and 15 years of age, they will need a booster dose between the ages of 16 and 18. If the first dose is given after your child's 16th birthday, a booster shot isn't necessary.
 
Young adults who will be starting college and living in a dorm should also receive the MCV4 shot if they haven't already. The same goes for young adults entering the military who will be living in barracks.
 

Influenza (Flu) Vaccine

Influenza is the medical term for the infection commonly called "the flu." Like the common cold, the flu is caused by a virus that infects the respiratory tract (the nose, throat, and lungs).
 
The flu is much more than just a cold, however. The flu can be quite dangerous. It can cause serious problems, like pneumonia, dehydration, and even death. Every year, over 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized because of problems caused by the flu.  
 
Many people who get the flu only have a mild illness, and begin to feel better within a week. However, the flu can be unpredictable. It can be serious in anyone, even people who are otherwise healthy. People with chronic medical conditions, like diabetes and asthma, are especially susceptible to serious complications from the flu.
 
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