What vaccinations should teenagers get?

Teenagers definitely need vaccines and regular boosters, as do adults. Adolescents who are 11 or 12 years old need these vaccines:
  • tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (TDaP) vaccine
  • meningococcal conjugate vaccine
  • influenza vaccine
  • human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which helps protect against cancers of the cervix, anus, vagina and vulva
Plus, teens (and adults) who haven't had chicken pox or haven't been immunized against the disease should get a varicella vaccine. Unfortunately, while vaccination rates for young children are very good, those for adolescents are far below what they should be, although some of these rates are improving.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccination rates have been rising for TDaP and meningococcal-conjugate vaccine (MCV4). The increase in vaccine coverage rates for HPV vaccine, however, is only about half the rate of the increases seen for TDaP and MCV4.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that teenagers and young women (up to age 26)  who have not yet been vaccinated or completed the vaccine series receive the papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine (Cervarix or Gardasil), which protects them against HPV-related disease. The vaccine is given in three shots. The second shot is given one or two months after the first, and the third shot is given six months after the first shot. Vaccination is also recommended for males aged 13 through 21 years who have not yet received the vaccine (Gardasil), or who have not received all 3 doses.

Meningococcal vaccine is recommended as two doses. The first is administered between 11 and 12 years of age and the second at age 16.

The CDC recommends teenagers 13 to 19 and 20-year-olds should get the Tdap vaccination every 10 years. The Tdap vaccine is a booster shot, protecting against tetanus, diptheria and pertussis.
There are various vaccinations that teenagers (kids between the ages of 13 and 18) might need. Some should be given if a child is catching up on missed vaccines, including:
  • tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap)
  • human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV)
  • meningococcal
  • hepatitis A
  • hepatitis B
  • polio
  • measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
  • varicella (chicken pox)
The pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for adolescents at high risk for serious illness. And teenagers, like younger kids and adults, should get a yearly seasonal flu shot.

If you have any questions about the vaccine schedule, talk to your child’s pediatrician.
Teenagers should get a vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (dtap), meningococcus, human papilloma virus, and influenza (flu). By the teen years, most teens should have already received vaccines for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella, and polio.

Continue Learning about Vaccines & Immunizations

Vaccines & Immunizations

Vaccines & Immunizations

Vaccines are commonly given to children in the form of a shot to help prevent serious diseases like measles and mumps. Vaccines are developed using either dead strains of a disease, weakened strains, or strains of a different dise...

ase. As adults, we receive flu vaccines or may need a booster of childhood vaccines to retain immunity. Travelers may receive vaccines either as a condition of entry to a country, or on recommendation of health officials. Generally there is little or no reaction to a vaccine, but in some cases the vaccine may cause an allergic reaction or a temporary, mild illness. Some vaccines are not safe for pregnant women, so it’s important to check with a healthcare professional.

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.