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Does my older child or teen need to be vaccinated?

Older children and teens do need to be vaccinated. Many parents know to vaccinate their children when they are younger, but some parents don’t know there are vaccines that are also recommended for older children. As children get older and become preteens and teens they can be at risk for diseases for which vaccines are available. Children tend to have fewer regular visits with their healthcare professional as they get older, so annual back-to-school checkups or sports physicals can be an opportunity to ask about vaccines.

It’s a common misconception that children only need school-required vaccinations, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccines for preteens and teens even beyond the ones required by many schools. To help prevent more than 15 diseases, the CDC recommends specific vaccination schedules that cover children, preteens, teens and adults. To learn more about vaccines recommended throughout a person’s lifetime, talk to your healthcare professional.
Your older child or teen needs to continue to get vaccinations, such as the flu vaccine every year. The tetanus vaccine is given every 10 years. Also, preteens starting at age 11 should get the HPV vaccine. If you are traveling, ask your doctor if any booster vaccines or extra vaccines are needed to cover diseases in that area.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.