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We are proud to share our recent article in the peer-reviewed journal Vaccines, looking at vaccine hesitancy among adolescents and their parents in the time of COVID-19.

Read the article here

Resources for Parents

Ensure your Teens and Young Adults are Vaccine Protected
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Your Teens & Young Adults May Not Be Protected

Your child may not have received all of their recommended vaccines. UNITY™ Consortium can help address some of your concerns

General Vaccine Questions

UNITY Resources

Every year, 1.5 million people around the world die from vaccine-preventable diseases. Adolescents are at risk for many of these serious diseases. While infants and young children get many vaccines, there are a number of vaccines that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends for adolescents:

  • Tdap: Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (whooping cough): Receive a Tdap vaccine between the ages of 11-12. Regular boosters of Td vaccine are recommended every 10 years to protect those at risk.
  • Meningococcal ACWY: Receive a meningococcal ACWY vaccine at 11-12 years of age with a booster dose between 16 and 18 years.
  • Meningococcal B: Receive meningococcal serogroup B vaccine doses at 16-18 years old. Discuss this vaccine with your healthcare provider.
  • HPV (Human papillomavirus): The vaccine is most effective at preventing associated cancers for both boys and girls when given during preteen years, starting at 9 years old.
  • Flu: Flu season typically starts in October and the virus can mutate each year. Annual vaccination is recommended.
  • COVID-19: Adolescents should receive 2 COVID-19 vaccine doses. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for ages 5 years and older. Adolescents 12 and older and certain immunocompromised children ages 5-11 are eligible for a booster shot five months after receiving their second vaccine

In addition, you should ask your healthcare provider if you are up to date on other recommended vaccines which are usually given at younger ages, including:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Chickenpox
  • Polio
  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
  • Pneumococcal disease

For more information on recommended vaccines for adolescents and young adults.

Protection from Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. Unity President talks about important vaccines recommended for teens at age 16 and Unity’s mission and resources

Judy Klein – Protection from Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Prioritizing Adolescents: Vaccinate at Ages 11-12 & 16. Learn about the vaccines recommended for your child at ages 11-12 and 16

Prioritizing Adolescents: Vaccinate at Ages 11-12 & 16 (2 minutes)

Remember the 4 – Vaccines for Teens Infographic. Find out about the risks of vaccine preventable diseases and vaccine recommendations for teens by age.

Vaccines for Teens Infographic

Tdap protects against tetanus (T), diphtheria (D), and pertussis (aP). Diphtheria and pertussis spread from person to person. Tetanus enters the body through cuts or wounds. Tetanus causes painful stiffening of the muscles. It can lead to serious health problems, including being unable to open the mouth, having trouble swallowing and breathing, or death. Diphtheria can lead to difficulty breathing, heart failure, paralysis, or death. Pertussis, also known as “whooping cough,” can cause uncontrollable, violent coughing which makes it hard to breathe, eat, or drink. 

There are two recommended vaccines to protect against meningococcal disease. Meningococcal ACWY vaccine helps protect against meningococcal disease caused by serogroups A, C, W, and Y. The Meningococcal B vaccine protects against serogroup B. Meningococcal disease can cause meningitis (infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) and infections of the blood. Even when it is treated, meningococcal disease kills 10 to 15 infected people out of 100. And of those who survive, about 10 to 20 out of every 100 will suffer disabilities such as hearing loss, brain damage, kidney damage, loss of limbs, nervous system problems, or severe scars from skin grafts. Adolescents and young adults ages 16-23 are at increased risk of meningococcal disease.  Learn more at Unity’s Vax@16 webpage. 

The HPV vaccine protects against infections caused by some types of human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV infection can cause certain types of cancer, including cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancers in women, penile cancer in men and anal cancers in both men and women. The HPV vaccine prevents infection from the HPV types that cause over 90% of these cancers. To learn more, listen to our FACTSinnated podcast on HPV vaccines.

Flu is a contagious disease that spreads around the U.S every year, usually between October and May. Everyone should get the flu vaccine (unless excluded for medical reasons), and people with certain health conditions or a weakened immune system are at the greatest risk of flu complications. Each year thousands of people in the United States die from flu, and many more are hospitalized. Flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related visits to the healthcare provider each year.

COVID-19 disease can cause short and long-term complications in adolescents and young adults. It can lead to hospitalization and death. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for ages 5 years and older. Learn more at Unity’s COVID-19 Response page. 

Vaccines are proven to be safe. In the U.S., we have very high vaccine safety standards in place. Vaccines are thoroughly studied through clinical trials before they are approved. Millions of children safely receive vaccines every year. 

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. The COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. They met the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality. Hundreds of millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines. These vaccines are under the most comprehensive and intense safety monitoring in U.S. history.

To learn more, visit Unity’s COVID-19 Response webpage.

Contact your health care professional to learn about their recommendation for which vaccines your teen should get. Examples of reliable sources for health information include the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Immunization Action Coalition, and the sites of leading research hospitals, such as the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine Education Center.

To learn more, visit Unity’s Recommended Vaccines webpage.

Vaccines work with your body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease. They familiarize your immune system with a specific disease-causing invader, or pathogen. Then your immune system recognizes and makes antibodies to that pathogen to fight the disease if you are infected in the future. Different vaccines do this in different ways by using different forms of the pathogen -- for example, a weakened (attenuated), inactivated, or component of the pathogen. 

Importantly, vaccines don’t make you sick with the pathogen they’re designed to protect you from. Instead, they give your immune system a practice run at counteracting a weaker, inactivated or partial version of the pathogen. 

Vaccines allow your body to stop infection before you get sick, or they prevent you from becoming seriously sick if you get infected. See explanations from the Cleveland Clinic or CDC for more information.

Many doctors' offices, pharmacies, hospitals, and clinics offer recommended adolescent vaccines including COVID-19 vaccines. Your doctor's office or local pharmacy may contact you with information about getting your vaccines. 

Your teen can get their COVID-19 vaccine and other recommended vaccines at the same visit, according to the CDC.

To find convenient COVID-19 vaccination locations near you, search vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233.

Yes, doctors’ offices have measures in place to ensure you can visit safely. Contact your doctor or other healthcare provider for specific safety measures, with any vaccine questions and to schedule a visit. It is safe to visit your doctors’ offices, as well as other healthcare locations.

To learn more, visit Unity’s Don’t Wait. Vaccinate page.

Your teens/young adults look first to you, as their parent, for healthcare advice and decisions. You can support and empower them by having open conversations, listening to their concerns, being sympathetic, providing the facts, keeping your composure, and stressing their safety.  Talk about your appreciation of their interest in taking an active role in their own healthcare.

COVID-19 Vaccine Questions

Hundreds of millions of people in the U.S. have received the COVID-19 vaccines under the most comprehensive and intense safety monitoring in U.S. history.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for adolescents and children ages 5 years and older. The CDC also recommends a booster for people ages 12 and up a minimum of five months after the primary dose. This COVID-19 vaccine is proven to be safe and effective at protecting adolescents from COVID-19 disease. 

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is administered with two shots, scheduled at least three weeks apart. While the vaccine does involve needles, most people report that it doesn’t hurt. Some people have reported arm soreness at the injection site, which generally goes away quickly.

After COVID-19 vaccination, your teen may have some side effects. These are normal signs that your body is building protection. The side effects from COVID-19 vaccination, such as tiredness, headache, or chills, may affect your ability to do daily activities, but typically go away in a few days.

It takes 2 weeks after vaccination for the body to build protection (immunity) against the virus that causes COVID-19. You are not fully immunized until 2 weeks after the second dose of a 2-dose vaccine or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine. 

Vaccines are widely accessible in the U.S. at many healthcare provider locations, including doctors' offices, pharmacies, hospitals, and clinics, for everyone 12 years and older at no cost.

To find a COVID-19 Vaccine, search vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you.

To learn more, visit Unity’s COVID-19 Response webpage.

The CDC recommends that everyone age 12 and over get a booster shot a minimum of five months after their second vaccine.

To learn more, visit Unity’s COVID-19 Response webpage.

While the mRNA vaccine is new, research and development of it has been underway for decades. The mRNA vaccines do not contain any live virus. Instead, they work by teaching our cells to make a harmless piece of a “spike protein,” which is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. After making the protein piece, cells display it on their surface. Your immune system then recognizes that it does not belong there and gets rid of it. The immune system produces antibodies, creating the same response that happens in a natural infection. 

Learn more from the CDC about how mRNA COVID-19 vaccines work and view this infographic that explains it. Check out videos from PBS NewsHour and the Vaccine Education Center.

COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be safe and effective. The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks. It is not possible to get COVID-19 from vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines are authorized for people ages 5 years and older.

Hundreds of million doses of the vaccines have already been given in the U.S. Scientists evaluated the COVID-19 vaccines in tens of thousands of people in clinical trials. They met the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality. These vaccines are under the most comprehensive and intense safety monitoring in U.S. history.

To learn more, visit Unity’s COVID-19 Response webpage.

Some people have side effects from vaccines, but for most, the side effects are mild and only last a day or two. The commonly reported side effects include arm pain, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, joint pain, chills, fever and nausea. Vaccination is a safer choice.

To learn more, visit Unity’s COVID-19 Response webpage.

While COVID-19 tends to be milder in adolescents compared with adults, COVID-19 can make them very sick and lead to hospitalization or death. They can suffer short and long term complications. Adolescents can spread COVID-19 to others, including family members who are not eligible for vaccination or who are at increased risk of getting very sick if infected. Vaccinating can protect your adolescents and help them safely participate in school, sports, and other extracurricular activities.

To learn more, visit Unity’s COVID-19 Response webpage.

The COVID-19 vaccine dose is based on inducing an immune response. This is age related rather than weight related. Children ages 5-11 receive a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that is one-third that of people ages 12 and older. Smaller needles, designed specifically for children, are also used.

No. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is as effective at the 10-microgram dose for children ages 5-11 as the 30-microgram dose is for older kids and adults. Waiting until your child turns 12 means your child is unprotected longer. For children who turn 12 between the first and second doses, which are given three weeks apart, they will be given the adult dose the second time.

To learn more, visit Unity’s COVID-19 Response webpage.

COVID-19 vaccines are effective. However, a percentage of people who are fully vaccinated may still get COVID-19 if they are exposed to the virus. These are called “vaccine breakthrough cases.” This means that while people who have been vaccinated are much less likely to get sick, it will still happen in some cases.

The CDC recommends that everyone ages everyone ages 12 and older and certain immunocompromised children ages 5- 11 get a booster shot. The COVID-19 vaccines are working well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even against variants. However, public health experts are seeing reduced protection against mild and moderate disease.

To learn more, visit Unity’s COVID-19 Response webpage.

Your teen/young adult should be vaccinated even if they already had COVID-19 disease. That’s because experts do not know how long protection lasts after people recover from COVID-19. Studies have shown that vaccination provides a strong boost in protection in people who have recovered from COVID-19 disease.

If you have any questions or concerns about getting the vaccine, talk to your healthcare provider.

Many doctors' offices, pharmacies, hospitals, and clinics offer recommended adolescent vaccines including COVID-19 vaccines. Your doctor's office or local pharmacy may contact you with information about vaccination. 

Your teen can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other recommended vaccines at the same visit, according to the CDC.

To find a COVID-19 Vaccine, search vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you.

To learn more, visit Unity’s COVID-19 Response webpage.

There is no cost to you for the COVID-19 vaccine. The federal government provides COVID-19 vaccines free of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status.

To learn more, visit Unity’s COVID-19 Response webpage.

Rare cases of heart inflammation (myocarditis or pericarditis) in adolescents and young adults have been reported after getting a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. These rare cases were reported more often in male teens and young adults, after the second dose, and usually within a week of vaccination. These patients can be treated with medicine and recover quickly. The risk of myocarditis is almost 16 times higher for those who get COVID-19 disease vs. those who do not. The risk is even higher in people < 16 years old. 

CDC recommends that everyone ages 5 years and older get vaccinated for COVID-19. The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks. 

To learn more, visit Unity’s COVID-19 Response webpage.

There is no scientific basis or evidence that COVID-19 vaccines cause fertility problems in women or men. CDC and professional medical organizations recommend COVID-19 vaccination for people trying to get pregnant now or in the future, as well as their partners. Pregnancy experts also recommend COVID-19 vaccination for women who are breastfeeding.

No. COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. COVID-19 vaccines deliver instructions to your cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. However, this genetic material never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where your DNA is kept. Learn more from the CDC about mRNA and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines.

To learn more, visit Unity’s COVID-19 Response webpage.

No. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain microchips. Vaccines are not administered to track your movement. Vaccines work by stimulating your immune system to produce antibodies, exactly like it would if you were exposed to the disease. After getting vaccinated, you develop immunity to that disease, without having to get the disease first. Learn more from the CDC about the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccinations.

To learn more, visit Unity’s COVID-19 Response webpage.

No. Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will not make you magnetic, including at the site of vaccination which is usually your arm. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain ingredients that can produce an electromagnetic field at the site of your injection. All COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals.

To learn more, visit Unity’s COVID-19 Response webpage.

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