Back-to-school vaccines

HealthBeat

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Kids in KELOLAND will be heading back to school soon and that means making sure school supplies and class schedules are ready to go.

But depending on your child’s age, experts say an HPV vaccine might also be necessary.

Luis Morales and his son are squeezing in time at the park before a new school year begins.

“We’re getting excited to start kindergarten this year. So we’re so happy and nervous at the same time,” Morales said.

These two aren’t the only ones soaking up the last days of summer break before school starts. Nikki Horning and her three kids are having fun at the park after a busy few days prepping for the new school year.

“We got our school supplies shopping done, and our school clothes on Sunday we got done. They have school pictures and orientation on Thursday,” Horning said.

But it’s not just picking up school supplies experts say you should be doing before the first day. Doctors say certain vaccinations should also be on your to-do list.

Along with a tetanus and meningitis vaccine, many kids may also be getting the HPV vaccine. One of those kids is Horning’s son who will be starting middle school.

“I did have reservations a little bit about it because it’s like gosh, he’s 11 and a half, why does he need to have the HPV at such a young age,” Horning said.

Dr. Jennifer Schriever with Sanford Health says HPV is oftentimes passed through sexual contact, but is recommended at a young age because it strengthens your immunity over time.

“You want to get the vaccine before you’re exposed to the virus because otherwise it’s not as effective for you. So you mainly get HPV when you’re exposed to other contact with other people,” Schriever said.

In fact, the virus is the most commonly sexually transmitted infection in the U.S., and can also lead to various cancers.
She says kids 9 and up are eligible for the vaccine, and the sooner it’s given the better.

“Once it was explained to me and I read a sheet on it I kind of changed my mind a little bit about it and thought it was probably a necessary step,” Horning said.

Both Horning and Morales say getting their children vaccinated is important when it comes to keeping their kids healthy.

“With the vaccines it’s a huge protection,” Morales said.

Schriever says the vaccine is given in a series of two or three depending on your age.

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