Off to College!

College

Hopefully all of your graduating seniors have had a good year.  For those going off to college, don’t forget about their pre-college physical.  At this visit, which is otherwise much like prior physicals, your teen’s doctor will review his/her vaccines and there may be several to discuss getting now:

1. Flu vaccine- if this visit occurs in late August, then the chances are your child will be offered a flu vaccine.  Say yes!

2. Meningococcal vaccine- this comes in 2 varieties (A/C/Y/W-135, also called “quadrivalent,” and B).  Most preteens get a first dose of the quadrivalent vaccine at age   11 and a booster at age 16.  If one of these has been missed, now is the time to catch up.  Meningococcal type B vaccine is most commonly used in those with immune system problems but some docs do use it routinely.  In the end, because MenB infection is much less common, most docs do not recommend it for otherwise healthy young adults.  Great topic for discussion with your doctor!

3. Tdap booster- also normally given once at age 11, if your senior has not had this she/he should get it now.

4. HPV vaccine- yes, your senior should have had this series years ago, but if for any reason did not get all necessary doses, now is the time (see my earlier post).

5. All the rest- I’m assuming that all of the routine vaccines normally given in younger childhood (such as MMR, polio, HepB, etc) are done, but your doc will review these with you as well as college needs an official record of all vaccines prior to arrival.

Good luck to your college-bound students!!

Mumps Booster for College?

mumps neck swelling CDC

Photo above: a child with mumps (with swelling of the parotid glands in the neck)

 

There has been a lot of press in the vaccine community about recent outbreaks of mumps on college campuses.  This caused a debate over whether students should receive a booster of MMR vaccine prior to starting college.

The Facts:

1. In the U.S. children receive MMR vaccine routinely at 12-15 months old and again at 4-6 years old.

2. By college age most people are still protected (but not everyone).

3. Outbreaks of mumps are uncommon but they do happen.

4. Current CDC recommendation is to consider an MMR booster in people at high risk of exposure to mumps in consultation with local health authorities.  **This means that a graduating high school senior will NOT routinely need an MMR booster but it may be recommended if her/his college experiences an outbreak.  This vaccination would likely happen on campus.  This would be safe and would make sense.

5. Given medical privacy rules and the fact that most college students are over 18, families may or may not be notified of an event such as this (just like the fact that you will normally not get a copy of your child’s grades directly from the school).

Any thoughts???


Usual Pediatric Schedule:

  • 1st dose (as part of MMR vaccine) at 12-15 months old
  • 2nd dose (as part of MMR vaccine) at 4-6 years old