PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Major medical groups are issuing a call to action, hoping to find a new and better way to get more teenagers vaccinated. Vaccination rates remain low for adolescents, which has prompted several leading medical groups wanting to establish a 16-year-old immunization visit.
“It gives the opportunity for the pediatricians and families to sit down and review the vaccine schedule and find if there are any holes,” Dr. Jay Berger said.
Among the vaccines teens can get during the visit are the second dose of the meningitis vaccine that protects against A, C, Y and W strains, the meningitis B vaccine and the flu vaccine, depending on the time of the year.
“In addition, our teenage vaccines include the human papillomavirus virus — the HPV vaccine,” Berger said, “which we give usually starting at 11, but sometimes we catch up or start at later in the teen years.”
Data shows only 44% of kids complete the meningitis vaccine by their 18th birthday. Only 49% of adolescents have received the full HPV series.
Fifteen-year-old Andrew Stemberger is up to date on his vaccinations. His dad makes sure he sees the pediatrician once a year.
“My job as a parent is to keep them as healthy and protected as possible,” Allen Stemberger said.
Stemberger says his son will continue to get his vaccines as recommended.
“Because if he doesn’t then he falls behind and he goes to college and you’re never going to see him. Making sure he’s prepped up for the future is important,” he said.
Doctors say with flu season approaching, it’s important for teens to get a flu shot, but studies show less than half of adolescents between 13 and 17 years old receive the influenza vaccine.