NBA star joins vaccination campaign

A collaboration has been formed between five-time National Basketball Association All-Star Chauncey Billups, NBA Cares, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine and Sanofi Pasteur for the national awareness and multimedia campaign Vaccines for Teens.

"As a father, nothing is more important to me than my children's health," Billups said. "I encourage parents to speak to their child's health-care provider and get informed about how they can help protect their preteens and teens by getting them vaccinated."

The campaign has been designed to educate teens, preteens and their parents about the importance of vaccination against serious and possibly life-threatening diseases. Billups has been featured in a new public service announcement that will air nationally on the NBA network and cable NBA broadcasts.

"Vaccines can help protect the health of our teens, but too often families aren't aware of the need and importance of vaccinations for adolescents," Larry D'Angelo, president of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, said. "Parents can ask about vaccination during any health-care visit. We welcome the support and cooperation of the NBA and Sanofi Pasteur in helping move this important health issue forward."

Some diseases that teens and preteens are at risk for include influenza, meningococcal disease and pertussis. Immunization rates among these age groups is quite low and only half of adolescents between 13 and 17 years of age have been vaccinated against pertussis and meningococcal disease.