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What Shots Does My Adolescent Need, and When?

Immunizations are one of the greatest achievements of medicine. They have been so successful, many parents have never seen most of the illnesses and complications that vaccines prevent. But these diseases still exist. Your child needs immunizations to be protected from them.

California Law requires the following immunizations before entering 7th grade (your child may have already had these vaccines when they were younger):

  • Hepatitis B series – requires two or three shots given over a four- to six-month period

  • Second measles shot (or MMR shot, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella)

You may request an exemption for medical or personal belief reasons. If you have any questions about these shots and the diseases they prevent, talk with your child’s doctor, school, or local health department.

Your child’s doctor may also recommend these immunizations:

  • Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) booster – recommended for adolescents 11 through 18 years of age.

  • Chickenpox shot – a second dose of chickenpox vaccine is recommended for all adolescents who have not had chickenpox

  • Meningococcal conjugate shot (MCV4) – recommended for college freshmen who will be living in dorms, adolescents at high school entry who have not previously received MCV4, and groups at high-risk for meningococcal disease. Immunization of 11- and 12-year-olds, previously recommended, should be postponed until there is adequate supply.

  • Series of three human papillomavirus shots (HPV) – a new vaccine for females only. The HPV vaccine will be available soon.

Check out the links below to learn more about what immunizations your child needs, and when.

More information:

The National Meningitis Association
NMA’s mission is to educate families, medical professionals and others about bacterial meningitis and prevention approaches to the disease.

Vaccinate B4 U Graduate, High School Version (PDF)  Español  (Spanish)
A flyer providing information for teens about the importance of getting vaccines to prevent serious diseases. 

Vaccinate B4 U Graduate, Middle School Version (PDF) Español  (Spanish)
A flyer providing information for teens about the importance of getting vaccines to prevent serious diseases. 

Immunizating Timing Schedule for Children Aged Two Months to 12 Years
A one page color document with information about required vaccines by age group.

What Vaccines Do You Need? Interactive Quiz
Answering these 8 questions produces a results page showing which vaccines you may need

Parents' Guide to California School Immunization Law
Why shots are required, which shots are required, and other vaccine information.

Resources for Parents, from the American Academy of Pediatrics
A large collection of links to a range of immunization information.

Preteen Vaccines (CDPH)
Information about the importance of preteen vaccines, with educational materials, and news about the Preteen Vaccine Week.

Last modified on: 11/5/2008 11:47 PM