Health Officials Encourage Parents to Get Preteens and Teens Up to Date on Immunizations

RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — Governor Roy Cooper has proclaimed July Adolescent Immunization Awareness Month to highlight the importance of immunizations for North Carolina’s preteens and teens.

As teachers, parents and students are preparing for the start of the 2021-22 school year, public health officials remind parents and guardians to ensure their teens and preteens are current on all their vaccinations and encourage health care providers to take steps to ensure their young patients are up to date.

Over the past year, well child health care visits have decreased in some cases due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Data shows many North Carolina youth are behind on immunizations for vaccine-preventable diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria, meningococcal meningitis, measles and HPV. As of June 29, only 25% of youth ages 12-17 have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is collaborating with partners, including the North Carolina Pediatric Society, North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians and local health departments on an awareness campaign to help ensure adolescents are protected from vaccine-preventable diseases — including COVID-19.

“As children move into their preteen and teen years, they become more susceptible to certain diseases, making it especially important to stay current with immunizations. At the same time, preteens and teens tend to have fewer visits to their doctor’s office, increasing the chance that they are not up to date,” said Dr. Jessica L. Triche, FAAFP, president of the NC Academy of Family Physicians. “This decrease in immunizations accelerated among adolescents during the pandemic, when stay-at-home orders went into effect.”

In addition to routine vaccines, everyone 12 years and older is now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

“This vaccine is very safe and effective and can be given at the same time as vaccines required for school,” said State Health Director and NCDHHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, MPH. “We encourage all parents to talk with their preteen’s or teen’s doctor about this important vaccine and its benefits.”

More information, including a list of all required North Carolina school immunizations, from kindergarten through 12th grade is available at www.immunize.nc.gov/family. Additional information on vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases is available on the CDC’s website. The COVID-19 North Carolina Dashboard provides an overview of additional COVID-19-related information and metrics the state is monitoring.

Categories: Carolinas, Local, News

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