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Vaccines for Teens

Published: 08/31/18

When your child hits the preteen and teen years, it's time for a medical check-up and some important vaccines. Kids in this age group need to get FOUR vaccines to protect against several serious diseases.

1. Tdap Vaccine 

Tdap protects children from tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Children get vaccines for these diseases when they are younger, but they tend to wear off.  They need this vaccine to boost their immunity. Children should receive the Tdap Vaccine when they are 11 or 12 years old.  If your teen is 13 years or older and hasn’t gotten this vaccine yet, they should get it as soon as possible. 

2. HPV Vaccine 

HPV stands for human papilloma virus. Certain types of HPV can cause cancer. 

Girls and boys should get their first dose of the HPV vaccine between ages 11 and 12. They should get their second dose at least 6 months after the first. Three shots are recommended for those 15 and older or those with a weak immune system. 

The HPV vaccine series should be given to any teen 13 to 18 years old who didn't get it at an earlier age. Young adults 18-26 years old should also consider getting the vaccine.  This vaccine prevents most cervical cancers in women. HPV infections can cause other cancers in women and men - the vaccine can help prevent these, too.

3. Meningococcal Vaccine 

This vaccine protects against certain strains of a bacteria that causes meningococcal meningitis. About 1 in 4 people who get this meningitis die.  Those who survive can have permanent brain damage, hearing loss or other problems.  

Your child should get his first shot at age 11 or 12. A booster is needed at age 16. College students who live in dorms should get the vaccine if they never got it before.

4. Influenza (Flu) Vaccine

Everyone age 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year. The fall is the best time of year to get this vaccine. The flu virus changes every year, and vaccine makers adjust the vaccination to protect against the latest version of the virus.

The flu can cause serious problems that require hospital care, and it causes several deaths every year. These problems can occur even in young, healthy people. Even when the vaccine doesn’t completely prevent the flu, it lowers the risk of these severe problems.

For more detailed information about these vaccines, click here.

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If you are a patient and need to reach your health care team after business hours for non-life threatening conditions, call (205) 588-5234. For Medical Emergencies dial 911.

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