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October 2011

Defeating Disease

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Nurse about to administer a shot.Want a great way to keep your girl safe from disease? Make sure she gets all of her vaccines. Sure, she may not like the pinch of a shot. But she certainly wouldn’t like the aches, pains, and serious health problems that vaccines help prevent. Remember, vaccines protect our kids and our communities, and they are some of the safest medical products we have today.

Here are some key facts about shots:

  • Vaccines are not just for babies. The vaccines recommended for preteens and teens help prevent diseases that can be serious and even deadly. Ask your doctor which shots your girl needs based on her age and medical history.
  • Vaccines are considered safe. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires thorough safety testing of vaccines. Usually, vaccines cause no side effects or only mild ones, such as soreness at the injection site. Very rarely, people have more serious side effects. Be sure to tell the doctor or nurse about any health problems and any allergies to medications or food your girl may have before getting a vaccine.
  • The flu shot is for you too. Health experts now recommend that everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu shot each year.
  • The HPV vaccine saves lives. The vaccine for HPV, or human papillomavirus (pap-uh-LOH-muh-veye-ruhs), helps protect against cervical cancer. HPV often is spread through sexual contact. The HPV vaccine works best if a girl gets it before she ever has sex, so experts recommend getting the vaccine at age 11 or 12. (A girl can still get the vaccine even if she is older than 12 or has already had sex.) Make sure your girl gets the three shots she needs to complete the series.

The section for parents and caregivers has more information about vaccines. If you're concerned about paying for vaccines, you can get help.

More infection prevention

Vaccines aren't the only defense against disease. You and your girl can find tips on handwashing, safe food handling, and more in the section on fighting germs.


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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health


Content last reviewed October 01, 2011
Page last updated October 31, 2013