It’s time to observe National Immunization Awareness Month!
Courtney Colahan | Published on August 13, 2018
Updated on July 18, 2019
As summer comes to a close and kids head back to school, don’t forget to add one more thing to your school supply list: vaccinations. August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), and it is the perfect time to make sure your kids are protected from preventable viruses that can lead to cancer.
When your kids hit double digits, it’s time to talk to their pediatricians about the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. Though it’s not currently required for school entry (unless you’re in Rhode Island, Virginia or the District of Columbia), the HPV vaccine is recommended for all boys and girls ages 11-12 to prevent cancer.
HPV is an extremely common virus, and while most people clear the virus on their own, for others, it can lead to cancer. It’s linked to at least six types of cancer and is the cause of almost all cervical cancer cases.
If your teens didn’t get the vaccine, don’t worry—it’s available for most young men until age 21 and for young women until age 26. Because immune system responses are strongest when you’re younger, teens and young adults who start the series at age 15 or older will need three doses, instead of the two doses given to younger teens and pre-teens.
Liver cancer is the fastest-growing cause of cancer death in the United States and the second-leading cause of cancer death globally. Hepatitis B can lead to chronic liver infection and is a leading cause of liver cancer.
There is no cure for hepatitis B, but there is a safe and effective vaccination available to prevent this virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all newborns receive the first vaccine at birth and complete the three-to-four dose series between six-18 months. If your children did not receive the vaccine when they were infants, they should get it now to prevent liver cancer (And you should talk to your doctor about getting the vaccine, too! It’s available for adults over the age of 18 who are a high risk of hepatitis B infection.)
Staying up-to-date on your children’s vaccination schedules can be difficult, but it is worth it to prevent deadly diseases, including certain cancers. To help you keep track of vaccinations, the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Think About the Link® program is partnering with Scholastic® to bring you A Guide to Vaccination for Parents.
Take advantage of these resources, and then make sure your kids are immunized to Stop Cancer Before It Starts!®