Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain what vaccines your tween or teen need, what the vaccines prevent, and when the vaccines should be given.
Vaccines aren’t just for babies. Some of the vaccines that babies get can wear off as kids get older. And as kids grow up, they may come in contact with different diseases from when they were babies. There are vaccines that can help protect your preteen or teen from these other illnesses.
What vaccines does my tween/teen need?
Flu: This vaccine protects against influenza and the other health problems the flu can cause, such as dehydration (loss of body fluids), worsening of conditions like asthma or diabetes, or pneumonia. Preteens and teens should get the flu vaccine every year as soon as it’s available—usually in the fall. It is especially important for preteens and teens who have chronic health conditions like asthma or diabetes to get the flu vaccine as early as possible every year.
HPV: Human papillomavirus vaccines help protect both girls and boys from HPV infection and cancer caused by HPV. Two HPV vaccines protect girls from the types of HPV that cause most cervical cancer. One HPV vaccine also helps protect both girls and boys from anal cancer and genital warts. HPV vaccines are given to preteens (ages 11-12) as three shots over six months; all three shots are needed for full protection. It is strongly recommended that HPV vaccines are given before children are sexually active.
MCV4: Meningococcal conjugate vaccine protects against some of the bacteria that can cause meningitis (swelling of the lining around the brain and spinal cord) and sepsis (an infection in the blood). Preteens need the MCV4 shot when they are 11 or 12 years old and then they need a booster shot at age 16. Teens who got the MCV4 shot when they were 13, 14, or 15 years old should still get a booster at 16. Older teens who haven’t gotten any MCV4 shots should get it as soon as possible.
Tdap: This vaccine protects against three serious diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Preteens should get Tdap at age 11 or 12. If your teen didn’t get a Tdap shot as a preteen, ask his or her doctor about getting the shot now.
For more information, visit cdc.gov/vaccines/teens.
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