August is National Immunization Awareness Month which serves as a reminder that we all need vaccines throughout our lives.
Taking them to their sports physical, making sure they eat healthy and get plenty
of sleep … you know these are crucial to your adolescent’s health. But did you
also you know your preteens and teens need vaccines to stay healthy and
protected against serious diseases?
As they get older, preteens and teens are at increased risk for some infections.
Plus the protection provided by some of the childhood vaccines begins to wear
off, so preteens need a booster dose. You may have heard about whooping
cough (pertussis) outbreaks recently. Vaccine-preventable diseases are still
around and very real. The vaccines for preteens and teens can help protect your
kids, as well as their friends, community, and other family members.
There are four vaccines recommended for all preteens at ages 11 to 12. Teens
may also need a booster dose of one of the shots or get any shots they may
have missed. You can use any health care visit, including sports or camp
physicals, checkups or some sick visits, to get the shots your kids need. The
vaccines recommended for preteen and teen girls and boys are:
• Quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine, which protects
against four types of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is
caused by bacteria and is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis – a
serious infection around the brain and spinal cord – in teens and young
• HPV vaccine, which protects against the types of HPV that most
commonly cause cancer. HPV can cause future cancers of the cervix,
vulva and vagina in women and cancers of the penis in men. In both
women and men, HPV also causes mouth/throat (oropharyngeal) cancer,
anal cancer and genital warts.
• Tdap vaccine, which is a booster shot against tetanus, diphtheria and
pertussis. Pertussis (whooping cough) can keep kids out of school and
activities for weeks. It can also be spread to babies who are too young to
be vaccinated, and this disease can be very dangerous and sometimes
deadly for babies.
• Influenza (flu) vaccine, because even healthy kids can get the flu, and it
can be serious. All kids, including your preteens and teens, should get the
flu vaccine every year. Parents should also get vaccinated to protect
themselves and to help protect their children.
Talk with your child’s health care professional to find out which vaccines your
preteens and teens need. Vaccines are a crucial step in keeping your kids
Want to learn more about the vaccines for preteens and teens? Check out
www.cdc.gov/vaccines/teens or call 1-800-CDC-INFO.