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Vaccinate Your Preteen This Summer

Kids playing in sprinkler

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!

There are four vaccines recommended for preteens to help protect your children, as well as their friends and family members, from serious illness. While your kids should get a flu vaccine every year, the three other preteen vaccines should be given when kids are either 11 or 12 years old.

What vaccines are recommended 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 finish the HPV vaccine series before they turn 13 years old.
  • Quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine
    Quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine protects against some of the bacteria that can cause infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia). These illnesses can be very serious, even fatal.
  • Tdap vaccine
    Tdap vaccine provides a booster to continue protection from childhood against three serious diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (also called whooping cough).
  • Flu vaccine
    Preteens and teens should 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.

Be sure to check with the 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.

Some preteens and teens may faint after getting a shot or any other medical procedure. Sitting or lying down while getting shot 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.

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