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With classes at many colleges starting this month, college-bound students should add something very important to their “to-do” list before school: Go get recommended vaccines.
“In order to stay healthy, some vaccines are needed before you start college,” said Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Deputy Director Ira Singh. “Immunity received from some childhood vaccines can gradually decrease over time and students need boosters before entering college.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends college students, especially those living in dormitories, get the following vaccinations if they have not received them already: Meningococcal conjugate, Varicella, Tdap, Human papillomavirus (HPV), Hepatitis A and the seasonal flu vaccine, when it becomes available in September.
Meningococcal conjugate vaccine helps prevent meningococcal disease. People who received this vaccine before their 16th birthday should get a booster dose before going to college for maximum protection.
Varicella vaccine is recommended for people who did not have the vaccine or chickenpox as children.
Tdap vaccine is recommended for people who have not already had it, or if the vaccine status is unknown, a booster is recommended if it has been 10 years since the vaccine, and protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (also known as whooping cough).
The HPV vaccine protects against viruses that can lead to genital warts, cervical cancer and other types of cancer.
The Hepatitis A vaccine protects against this disease, which is caused by a virus that attacks the liver and finally, the seasonal flu vaccine becomes available in September.
Without that protection, young adults are at risk for a number of vaccine-preventable diseases.
Vaccines are available from clinics and other health care providers. For more information about immunizations, contact the DHHS Public Health Clinic at (707) 268-2108.
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