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Vaccine Checklist for Preteens and Teens

Which Vaccines Does My Preteen/Teen Need?

Most preteens and teens will need four main vaccines. These vaccines are:
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Meningococcal (MCV4)
  • Influenza (the "flu" vaccine).
The flu vaccine is recommended every year for everyone who is six months of age or older. It is usually given in the fall, before flu season starts.
Your preteen should start getting the other vaccines (Tdap, HPV, and MCV4) when he or she is 11 or 12 years old. After the first HPV shot, two more doses will be given over six months. It's important that you follow through and make sure your child gets all three of these shots. A meningococcal booster will also be needed when your child turns 16 years old.

Vaccines for High-Risk Adolescents

In addition, your child may need two vaccines that are recommended for those at high risk for certain illnesses. These two vaccines are the pneumococcal vaccine and the hepatitis A (HepA) vaccine.
Pneumococcal Vaccine
The pneumococcal vaccine protects against infections caused by the bacteria known as pneumococcus. Pneumococcus bacteria can cause many different types of infection -- pneumonia, ear infections, and brain infections, to name a few. Pneumococcal disease can be life-threatening. In fact, it's considered the leading cause of vaccine-preventable illness and death in the United States.
Your teen or preteen was probably already vaccinated against pneumococcal disease as a young child. However, another pneumococcal vaccine may be needed for extra protection if your child has certain health problems, such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes, or is more susceptible to infections than other children.
Hepatitis A Vaccine
Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. The HepA vaccine can protect against this infection. The vaccine is now recommended for all young children age 12 months to 23 months, so it's possible your child already got the vaccine. However, not all children have received it, as those recommendations are relatively new.
The HepA vaccine is recommended for certain adolescents who will be traveling internationally or who are at high risk for a hepatitis A infection. It is also considered safe and effective for children of all ages, so if you're concerned about hepatitis A, your child could get the vaccine even if they're not considered high-risk.
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