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Vaccinate Your Preteen This Summer

Image of preteen children playing tug-a-war

Because most preteens get their shots in the month of August before school begins, it can be difficult to get in to see your child’s doctor or nurse. Make an appointment to get your child vaccinated earlier this summer and beat the back-to-school rush!

Vaccines help protect your preteen, as well as their friends and family members, from serious illness.

What vaccines does CDC recommend for my preteen?

Boys and girls should get the following vaccines at age 11 or 12 years:

  • HPV Vaccine
    Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine helps protect against HPV infections that cause cancer. All boys and girls should get two doses of HPV vaccine before they turn 13 years old. Children who start the vaccine series on or after their 15th birthday need three doses to get complete protection.
  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine
    Meningococcal conjugate vaccine protects against four types (serogroups A, C, W, and Y) of Neisseria meningitidis bacteria. These bacteria can cause infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections (septicemia). Teens should get a booster dose of this vaccine at 16 years old.
  • Tdap vaccine
    Tdap vaccine provides a booster to continue protection from childhood against three serious diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (also called whooping cough).

Be sure to check with your doctor to make sure that your preteen is up-to-date on all the vaccines they need. They may need to “catch up” on vaccines they might have missed when they were younger.

Preteens and teens should also get a flu vaccine every year, by the end of October if possible. It is very important for preteens and teens with chronic health conditions like asthma or diabetes to get the flu shot, but the flu can be serious for even healthy kids.

If your teen hasn’t gotten one or more of these vaccines, make an appointment for them to get caught up today. Teens may also receive a serogroup B meningococcal (MenB) vaccine. MenB vaccine protects against one type (serogroup B) of Neisseria meningitidis bacteria. The preferred age to get MenB vaccine is 16 to 18 years old.

Some preteens and teens may faint after getting a shot or any other medical procedure. Sitting or lying down while getting shots and staying that way for about 15 minutes after the shots can help prevent fainting. Most side effects from vaccines are very minor—such as redness or soreness in the arm—especially compared with the serious diseases that these vaccines prevent.

Need help paying for vaccines?

Most health insurance plans cover the cost of 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. The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program provides vaccines for children ages 18 years and younger, who are not insured, Medicaid-eligible, or American Indian or Alaska Native.