Down There Care Sex Ed

Vax Wise: The Must-Have Immunizations for Body-Smart Betties on Campus

By Gabi Powell Lindsey Lavoie, WHNP Jillian LoPiano, MD

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Happy back-to-school month, Betties! Before you head back to campus to hit the books, let us serve up a few words of our own: Get Vaccinated.
College Betties, your unique needs set you apart when it comes to healthcare. Think cramped dorms, ever-changing scenes, relationship adventures, limited doc visits, and road-tripping escapades – all of which contribute to the importance of specific vaccines for your well-being.
And we get it – with classes, social activities, and more, vaccines might not be at the top of your to-do list. That’s why we’re here to remind body-smart Betties why it’s important to make time and space for four of these little health powerhouses.



Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine

What is it?

Think of the HPV vaccine as your shield against cervical cancer. This vaccine protects you from some strains of the Human Papilloma Virus that can cause genital warts or cancer of the cervix, as well as the back of the throat, anus, penis, vagina, or vulva. It’s typically administered in a 2 or 3-dose series, depending on when you start.

Why is it important?

Human Papillomavirus is a common sexually transmitted infection (14 million new infections in the US each year!). And guess what? It’s often spread through sexual activity – oral, vaginal, or anal sex – and often, without any symptoms showing up. Getting vaccinated can significantly reduce your risk of becoming a part of this statistic.

Who should get it?

The vaccine is recommended for adolescents aged 9 to 45, with the ideal time being around 11 or 12 years old. Even if you’ve had an HPV infection before, this vaccine can protect you from other strains.




Meningococcal Vaccine

What is it?

Meningitis is like the uninvited guest you don’t want crashing your party. It can cause severe swelling around your brain and spinal cord, leading to serious illness and even death.

Why is it important?

While many are vaccinated against several strains of meningitis in childhood, the strain responsible for most college outbreaks, Meningitis B, was only approved in 2014. Dorm life and close contact can make it a breeding ground for this potentially fatal illness.

Who should get it?

Preteens and teens, particularly around ages 11 to 12, should be vaccinated against Meningitis. Especially important for college students, where proximity is the name of the game!




Flu Vaccine

What is it?

The flu vaccine is like your annual dose of protection against those pesky influenza viruses that just *love* to make you sick.
Why is it important?

Flu can be more than just a nuisance. It can lead to severe illness, and in some cases, even death. Getting vaccinated can greatly reduce your chances of falling victim to the flu bug.
Who should get it?

Unless otherwise indicated, it is recommended for all people 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine every year. Like Meningitis, the flu thrives in close quarters because it’s mainly spread by small droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Hence, why it’s critical for college Betties doing life on campuses and dorms to get the vaccine.



COVID-19 Vaccine

What is it?

COVID-19 vaccines are your frontline defense against the virus that has changed the world. They not only protect you from severe illness but also help prevent the spread of the virus.

Why is it important?

COVID-19 has shown us how interconnected our lives are. By getting vaccinated, you’re not only safeguarding yourself but also playing a role in keeping your community safe.

Who should get it? Everybody aged 12 and older is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, a crucial step towards returning to a sense of normalcy.

Incoming freshman or almost-outta-here senior, college provides a Betty independence. And with it – the opportunity to make informed choices to take ownership of your healthcare. With a quick poke for your preventive health, here’s to you and a healthy semester ahead!


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