Q. My daughter is leaving for college in August. What vaccines should she get to prepare for her first year boarding on the campus?
A. Many colleges are implementing the American College Health Association (ACHA) recommendations for Institutional Prematriculation Immunizations (www.acha.org). Two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine are recommended as well as two doses of the varicella vaccine for those who do not have a history of chicken pox. In addition, Tdap immunization should be used for adolescents and young adults as their booster vaccine containing the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis instead of tetanus and diphtheria alone (Td). Immunization to Neisseria meningitidis for college freshman living in dormitories has been recommended as well but is now extended to include all adolescents and college students beyond freshman year. Also recommended are vaccines against polio, hepatitis A and B as well as the vaccine against human papillomavirus, a cause of cervical cancer, which can be given to both males and females. Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine is recommended for those with chronic illness including asthma, diabetes, liver or kidney disease (check with your doctor), as well as college smokers. Each fall a flu vaccine should be administered. Special consideration for additional vaccines is given to any student who may be traveling to certain areas abroad.
Karin Alcantara, M.D., FAAP
Galen Medical Group
1651 Gunbarrel Road Suite 302
Chattanooga, TN 37421