Vaccine Prep for College & Beyond

When we hear “Vaccination” these days, all that comes to mind is the Covid-19 vaccine. The fact is—there are many other vaccinations that people are encouraged to get at different ages. The rates of teens getting the generic vaccinations (Flu, HPV, Tetanus, etc.) have dropped drastically since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Truth in the Numbers

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, the rates for routine childhood vaccines are down by 50% for some immunizations since 2019, and al.com reported that nearly 7% (3,500) of kindergartners from both public and private schools were not up to date on their vaccines in 2021.

In addition to those staggering numbers, here are more reported drops from 2019-2021:

  • Child vaccination rates for 16 diseases including polio, chickenpox, flu, tetanus, measles, mumps, hepatitis and whooping cough have gone down by a total of 26% statewide.
  • Hepatitis A vaccinations decreased the most drastically by 50%.
  • The rate of vaccination against HPV went down by 20%.

Taking Preventative Measures

Vaccination for adolescents and adults is one of the most convenient and safest preventive care measures available. To increase awareness on the significance of immunization for adults and adolescents throughout the state of Alabama, The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) developed shareable educational materials available through their website. Take a moment to check out this information and help protect yourself, your family, and your community against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Did You Know? Getting vaccinated can help protect you from 16 serious diseases. Make sure you get any needed vaccines before the back-to-school rush.

A few examples of immunization requirements (in addition to TB Skin Testing) at the following state schools. Make sure you check the specific requirements at your intended university. The University of Alabama requires Meningitis Vaccine and 2 Measles Containing Vaccines. Auburn University requires the Measles Vaccination. Troy University requires two doses of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Available Vaccines and Guidelines for Teens

Guidelines for specific vaccines for preteens and teens have been established by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other medical organizations. Please find the guidelines below:

Tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) or tetanus-diphtheria (Td) Booster: The Tdap vaccine should be given to children aged 11 to 12 years. It can be given at 13-18 years if not received at an earlier age.

Meningococcal (this prevents meningitis): The meningococcal conjugate vaccine is recommended for all preteens and teens at 11 to 12 years old, with a booster dose at 16 years old. Any older teen who has never been vaccinated should get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Human papillomavirus (HPV): The HPV vaccine is recommended for children aged 11-12 years so that they are protected before exposure to the virus. The HPV vaccine is given as a 2-dose series for both guys and girls before age 15. The HPV Vaccine prevents cervical cancer and other major health concerns. If you are over 15, you can still get the vaccine, it just may require more doses.

Influenza: All teenagers (and everyone else 6 months of age and older) should be vaccinated every year.

COVID-19: May be required along with a negative COVID test.

Pre-College Checklist:

STEP ONE: Before going to College—Make an appointment at your family doctor or county health department.

STEP TWO: Download the immunization form from your college or university to take with you to your appointment.

STEP THREE: Most Colleges require a Tuberculosis Skin Test, so return to your doctor’s office to complete your screening. *Make sure you get your TB test early enough that you have time for the follow up. If it is positive, there are other requirements.

STEP FOUR: Submit the completed form to your university.

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