Immunization is when a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease,
usually by the administration of a vaccine.
vaccine is a medical substance that works with a person’s immune system
to protect against a specific disease. The Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) assures the safety and effectiveness of vaccines used in the United
States, and only approves vaccines that are determined to be safe and
The best way to help protect children against serious illness is to ensure
timely vaccinations by following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) recommended schedule.
The recommended immunization schedule is designed to protect infants and
children early in life by providing immunity when they are most at risk
and before any possible exposure to life-threatening diseases. Delaying
vaccines may put children at risk of becoming ill with vaccine-preventable
diseases. The CDC has designed a catch-up schedule to quickly get children
back on schedule if they fall behind.
We can now protect children younger than 2 years of age from sixteen potentially
serious diseases. Also, Florida requires certain vaccines to be administered
before children may enroll and attend childcare and school. Talk to your
health care provider about vaccines for your child.
Vaccines are not just for babies. Adolescents have different needs for
immunizations. They are more social, so they are more likely to catch
certain diseases. Also, protection from the immunizations they received
as children can wear off over time, so an additional dose or booster is needed.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends the following vaccines
to protect adolescents from very serious illnesses:
Meningococcal conjugate vaccine protects against an infection that causes meningitis and blood infection.
Although the infection is rare, it is very serious. First dose is recommended
at age 11 or 12 followed by a booster (second shot) at age 16-18.
The tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) booster vaccine includes protection against pertussis (whooping cough). Recommended for
preteens (11-12), as well as any teens (13-18) who haven't previously
been vaccinated. This is also a required vaccine before entering 7th grade.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine protects against a viral infection associated with cervical and other
forms of cancer. Vaccination is currently recommended for both boys and
girls. HPV vaccine is given in three doses over a six-month period starting
at 11-12 years old.
By giving the recommended immunizations in the adolescent years, they are
protected when most at risk. Talk to your healthcare provider about vaccines
for your adolescent and teen.
Adults need vaccines to help stay healthy, just like kids do. Even if you
received all your vaccines as a child, the protection from some vaccines
may wear off over time. You never outgrow the need for vaccines. The specific
immunizations you need as an adult are determined by factors such as your
age, lifestyle, high risk conditions, travel, and previous immunization history.
Talk to your health care provider to find out what vaccines may be right for you.