Preteen Years: Ages 11 Through 12

As protection from childhood vaccines wears off, adolescents need vaccines that will extend protection. Adolescents need protection from additional infections as well, before the risk of exposure increases. During early adolescence, your child needs three essential vaccines that will provide protection as he or she enters adulthood.

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine protects against infections that can cause certain cancers, as well as genital warts.
  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine protects against meningococcal disease, which can lead to meningitis, an infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, as well as bloodstream infections.
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough.

Additionally, your child should get a seasonal flu vaccine by the end of October, every year.

Recommended Vaccines Protect Against These Diseases:

About the flu:

  • Flu is a potentially serious, contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can lead to hospitalization and even death.

  • Every year, millions of people get the flu, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized, and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes.

  • Flu vaccination can prevent illness, doctors’ visits, missed work and school, as well as flu-related hospitalizations.

  • Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated death in children by nearly half, according to a recent CDC study.

Flu vaccine recommendations:

  • CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a yearly seasonal flu vaccine by the end of October, if possible, to ensure the best available protection against flu.

  • Children 6 months through 8 years getting vaccinated for the first time and those who have only previously gotten one dose of vaccine should get two doses of flu vaccine, spaced at least 28 days apart.

To learn more about protecting you and your family from flu each year, check CDC’s annual recommendations or talk to your doctor.

About human papillomavirus:

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of more than 150 viruses that can cause serious infections.

  • While most HPV infections go away on their own, infections that don’t go away can cause cancers of the cervix, vulva, and vagina in women; cancers of the penis in men; and cancers of the anus, and back of the throat (oropharynx) in men and women.

  • Some HPV infections can also cause genital warts.

  • About 14 million people in the United States are infected with HPV each year.

The best protection against HPV infection and HPV cancers is two doses of HPV vaccine. The first dose is given at 11 through 12 years and a second dose is given 6 to 12 months following the first dose.

About meningococcal disease:

  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine helps protect against four types of meningococcal bacteria, which can cause serious and even deadly infections.

  • The most common types of meningococcal infections are meningitis, an infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, and bloodstream infections.

  • Meningococcal disease can become very serious, very quickly. Even with treatment, 10 to 15 out of 100 people with meningococcal disease will die from it.

CDC recommends two doses of meningococcal conjugate vaccine:

Older teens need a second shot when they are 16 years old so they stay protected during the ages when they are at highest risk.

Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine is a booster vaccine that protects older children against three diseases.

About tetanus:

  • Tetanus is an infection caused by bacteria that usually enter the body through breaks in the skin.

  • The bacteria produce a poison that causes painful muscle stiffness and lockjaw. It can be deadly.

About diphtheria:

  • Diphtheria is a serious infection caused by bacteria that spread through coughing and sneezing.

  • Diphtheria causes a thick covering in the back of the nose or throat.

  • It can lead to difficulty breathing, heart failure, paralysis, and even death.

About pertussis (whooping cough):

  • Whooping cough, or pertussis, is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing that often makes it hard to breathe.

  • It is highly contagious and can be deadly to babies.

  • Since 2010, states report tens of thousands of whooping cough cases each year in the United States.

CDC recommends one dose of Tdap vaccine between the ages of 11 and 12 years:

11 year
well visit
12 year
well visit
Flu vaccine Every year, by the end of October if possible.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine 2 doses, 6 to 12 months apart
Meningococcal conjugate vaccine 1st dose
Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine 1st dose

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