What shots does my preteen or adolescent need?
Immunizing our adolescents with the vaccines listed below is one thing we can do to protect their health for years to come. Getting a vaccine is like updating the body’s immune system, the same way you might update the software on your phone or computer. When all of us do our part to stay up to date with immunizations, it keeps the entire community network healthy and strong!
Human papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV is a common virus that can cause several cancers in men and women. HPV vaccination is recommended at ages 9-12 years to help protect against cancers caused by HPV infection. For best protection, most children this age will need two shots of the HPV vaccine, 6–12 months apart. Older adolescents can also get vaccinated against HPV if they missed getting the series as preteens but may need additional shots depending on their age.
Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough) (Tdap)
A Tdap booster shot protects older children from three serious diseases—tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough (pertussis). While people of any age in the United States can get all three of these potentially deadly diseases, whooping cough is most common. Preteens and teens who get whooping cough may cough for 10 weeks or more, possibly leading to rib fractures from severe coughing. This vaccine is required for 7th grade entry in California.
Meningococcal disease (MenACWY)
Meningococcal disease, or bacterial meningitis, is very serious. While most people recover from bacterial meningitis, some people with the infection die. Those who do recover can have permanent disabilities, such as brain damage, hearing loss, and learning disabilities. A meningococcal vaccine called MenACWY protects against four types of the bacteria (serogroups A, C, W, and Y) that cause bacterial meningitis. Preteens need to get immunized with MenACWY at 11-12 years and again at age 16.
Teens may also get a meningococcal vaccine called MenB that protects against another type of bacteria (serogroup B) that causes bacterial meningitis. MenB vaccine can be given at 16–18 years. While any teen may choose to get a MenB vaccine, certain preteens and teens should get it if they have specific health conditions or at increased risk. Talk to your healthcare provider to learn more.
Flu is a respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Flu spreads easily and can cause serious illness, especially if they have certain chronic conditions like asthma. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year ideally by the end of October
COVID-19 most often causes respiratory symptoms that can feel much like a cold, the flu, or pneumonia. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, but some people become severely ill. COVID-19 vaccines can protect against serious illness in everyone 6 months and up, including adolescents. Preventing COVID-19 infection can mean less time away from school, sports, and social activities.
Print the Preteens and teens immunization schedule for parents (PDF) to help keep track of the vaccines your child needs to be protected.