Immunizations have come increasingly under fire in the past several years as some proponents of a more natural lifestyle have argued that vaccines are inherently unsafe and that they should not be given to children or to anyone for that matter. However, numerous researchers have continued to demonstrate the effectiveness and safety of these vaccines as they prove that modern vaccines are needed to keep terrible epidemics of disease at bay. Many parents believe that immunizations are over when a child enters elementary school or after one or two preteen shots. However, because college students living in close proximity to each other in dormitories are at higher risk of contagious diseases than many other parts of the population are, the CDC recommends that young adults entering college receive several important immunizations.

  •    Meningococcal Conjugate

This immunization is the most widely discussed vaccine for college students. The risk for meningitis skyrockets in college when students live close to each other. In addition, meningitis is always quite dangerous and is sometime deadly.

  •    Tdap

This vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, also known as whooping cough. Even teenagers who received the full series of this vaccination as children should receive a booster shot prior to college. As many have seen in the news lately, outbreaks of whooping cough are increasing, and college students are certainly at risk.

  •    HPV

The human papillomavirus is responsible for some cervical and anal cancers as well as genital warts. This vaccination is recommended for both males and females who must receive three doses of the vaccine.

  •    Seasonal Influenza

A new influenza shot must be administered each year. While influenza is not often deadly in this age group, it can be greatly debilitating. This vaccine should preferably be administered in September or October and will last throughout the influenza season.

College students are at increased risk for disease based on their living situations as well as on their habits. Many college students do not eat as healthfully or sleep as much as they once did when living at home. This can set them up for increased risk of disease. Therefore, the CDC recommends and many colleges require that students receive the above-mentioned vaccines prior to heading to college. Dr. Matney is available to discuss these and other immunizations with concerned parents and teenagers.