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Pre-teen vaccinations

OW Staff | 1/14/2009, 5 p.m.

Los Angeles, CA - Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas joined L.A. County Director of Public Health Director, Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding on Tuesday to proclaim the week of Jan. 18-24 as "Pre-teen Vaccine Week," an annual statewide campaign to highlight the benefits of immunizations and regular doctor visits for children between 11 and 12 years of age.

"Many of our preteens are not currently up-to-date on recommended immunizations, leaving them vulnerable to serious illnesses that could otherwise be prevented," said Ridley-Thomas. "The Board of Supervisors' goal in observing Jan. 18-24 as 'Pre-teen Vaccine Week,' is to help promote awareness about the importance of pre-teen vaccines by utilizing schools to educate them.

There are an estimated 313,000 pre-teens between the ages of 11 and 12 living in Los Angeles County. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Society for Adolescent Medicine, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that 11- and 12-year-olds receive meningococcal vaccine (MCV4): to protect against certain serious types of bacterial meningitis and other related infections; Tdap booster: to prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough); Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine: to protect girls against cervical cancer; a second chickenpox vaccine (unless they have received 2 doses as a child and have never had chickenpox), and an annual flu vaccine.