"The best way to make a difference in rates of coverage is to take advantage of any opportunity to vaccinate teens," he suggested. For example, if a teen comes in with an injury, make sure they are up-to-date with their shots, and if not, vaccinate, he said.
Younger doctors have never seen some of the older vaccine-preventable diseases and may not realize how deadly they are. "These diseases can be serious and potentially fatal, and vaccines not only protect the teen, but those around the teen," Correa said.
Other obstacles to vaccination include teens themselves, he said. "They have a mind of their own and may refuse the vaccine due to fear of pain or side effects, and think they are indestructible anyway," he said.
Despite these hurdles, "the tide is turning," he said.
Learn about the recommended adolescent vaccine schedule from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCES: Armando G. Correa, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston; Lance Rodewald, M.D., director, immunization services, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; September 2011, Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
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