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For Parents

Group of Teens.

Vaccines can help your preteen and teenage children become healthy adults. Talk to your child's doctor or nurse about vaccines for teens during their next health care visit.

Why Vaccinate Now?

  1. Vaccine protection from some childhood vaccines wears off, so your teen needs a booster shot.
  2. As kids get older, they are more at risk for catching diseases, like meningococcal meningitis, so they need protection that vaccines provide.
  3. The recommended immunization schedule is regularly updated to include new vaccines and reflect current research. So, it has probably changed since your child was first immunized.
  4. Specific vaccines, like HPV, are recommended to be given during the preteen (11-12) years and teen (13-18) years.

Many children see their doctors or other health care professionals for physicals before participation in sports, camping events, travel, applying to college, and so on. All of these wellness check-ups provide a perfect opportunity to ask about vaccines for your preteen or teen.

Help protect your teen’s health by getting them vaccinated according to the recommended immunization schedule.

Which Vaccines Do Preteens and Teens Need, and When?

Are preteen and teen vaccines on your radar?
  • Tdap
    A booster to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. Recommended for preteens (11-12), as well as any teens (13-18) who haven't gotten this shot yet.
  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4)
    Protects against meningococcal disease. First dose is recommended at age 11 or 12 followed by a booster (2nd shot) at age 16-18.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine
    Protects against the types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers. HPV vaccine is given in 3 doses over 6-month period to boys and girls starting at 11-12 years old.
  • Influenza (flu) vaccine
    Protects against different strains of seasonal influenza. A yearly dose is recommended for everyone 6 months and older.

Also, check to confirm that your teen has received all recommended childhood vaccines, or if they need to catch-up on any vaccines they have not yet received. Use the 2011 Recommended Immunizations Schedule below to help you check all recommended vaccines for your preteen or teen.

Recommended immunizations for preteens and teens from 7-18 years old
English [627 KB, 2 pages] | Spanish [494 KB, 2 pages]

If your child has a chronic illness, other health conditions, or a higher risk for some vaccine-preventable diseases (such as pneumococcal disease), the doctor may recommend additional vaccine protection. To assist you with determining exactly which vaccines your child might need, use this online Adolescent and Adult Vaccine Quiz.

These vaccine recommendations are supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the Society for Adolescent Medicine (SAM).

School Vaccination Requirements

Use the School and Vaccination Requirements tool to determine your state's vaccination requirements and exemptions for your child's school enrollment and attendance in middle schools and some colleges/universities. This tool is updated each year. Allowable vaccination exemptions are included.

Traveling Internationally?

Consult the CDC Travelers’ Health web site for specific destinations your family plans to visit to learn which vaccines your family might need. There are countries where vaccine-preventable diseases (such as meningitis or hepatitis A) are widespread. So, protect yourself and those around you by getting vaccinated before you leave. Ideally, set up and appointment with a health care provider that specializes in travel medicine 4 to 6 weeks before your trip. Most vaccines take time to become effective in your body, and some vaccines must be given in a series over a period of days or sometimes weeks.

Need Help Paying for Vaccines?

If you don’t have insurance, or if it does not cover vaccines, the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program may be able to help. This program provides vaccines at no cost to doctors who serve eligible children. Children younger than 19 years of age are eligible for VFC vaccines if they are Medicaid-eligible, American Indian or Alaska Native, or have no health insurance. “Underinsured” children who have health insurance that does not cover vaccination can receive VFC vaccines through Federally Qualified Health Centers or Rural Health Centers. Parents of uninsured or underinsured children who receive vaccines at no cost through the VFC program should check with their healthcare providers about possible administration fees that might apply. These fees help providers cover the costs that result from important services like storing the vaccines and paying staff members to give vaccines to patients. However, VFC vaccines cannot be denied to an eligible child if a family can’t afford the fee. Visit vaccines for uninsured children to learn more.


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