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Vaccine Checklist for Preteens and Teens

Catch-Up Vaccines

Four vaccines are recommended for preteens or teens who were not already immunized, or who have not received all of their recommended doses as a young child. These vaccines are:
   
Most kids get these vaccines when they're young, by the time they turn seven years old. But all the vaccines require multiple doses, and some children may have missed some of the doses. In particular, many adolescents still need a second dose of the chickenpox vaccine, as the recommendations for adding a second dose didn't come around until 2006.
 

An Easy-to-Read Overview

Want a quick and easy guide to the vaccines your adolescent needs? We've provided a table below, based on the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP, the group of experts that develop recommendations on how to use vaccines in the United States). If you want more detailed information about the vaccinations and the diseases they help prevent, you'll find it below in the remainder of this article.
 
As always, you should talk with your child's healthcare provider about how the recommendations and vaccinations relate to your child's specific healthcare needs.
The Main Recommended Vaccines for Preteens and Teens
       
Vaccine
What Does it Do?
Why is it Needed?
Who Should Get It?
How Many Doses are Needed? 
Protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough).
Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis are very serious illnesses. The vaccines given to young children that protect against these infections eventually wear off.
  • Preteens who are 11 or 12 years old.
  • Teens 13 to 18 years old who haven't gotten it yet.  
Just one. Afterwards, a tetanus-diphtheria (Td) booster is recommended every 10 years.
Protects against certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer, and can cause several other genital cancers.
  • Preteens who are 11 or 12 years old.
  • Teens or young adults who did not get all three doses.
Three doses over six months.
MCV4
Protects against some of the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease.
Meningococcal disease is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis. It can also cause serious blood infections.
  • Preteens who are 11 or 12 years old, with a booster shot at age 16.
  • Teens between 13 and 15 years of age who have not yet received it, with a booster at age 16.
  • Teens 16 to 18 years of age who have not yet received it.
Usually two doses. Adolescents with HIV infection may need three doses. 
Protects against the flu and helps prevent the flu from being spread from person to person.
Influenza ("the flu") is an illness that can be easily spread from person to person, usually in the winter months. It can cause serious symptoms in some people.
  • Everyone six months of age and older.
Usually one dose a year. Children eight years old and younger should get two doses the first year they receive it. 
 
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