College-bound students, now is the time to make sure to get vaccinated before heading off to school.
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, chickenpox, Tdap, human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis A and the seasonal flu vaccine, when it becomes available in September.
“Often times, people think of vaccines as something that are only needed for young children,” said Susan Wardrip, R.N. and immunization coordinator for Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS). “Immunity received from some childhood vaccines can gradually decrease over time and students need boosters before entering college.”
Meningococcal conjugate vaccine helps prevent meningitis infection. People who received this vaccine before their 16th birthday should get a booster dose before going to college, for maximum protection.
Chickenpox (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 the vaccine, or if the vaccine status is unknown.
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 the disease, which is caused by a virus that attacks the liver. Hepatitis A can be transmitted by exposure to contaminated food or water.
Without the protection that immunizations provide, 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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