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Back-to-School Vaccinations All Preteens and Teens Need

Back-to-School Vaccinations All Preteens and Teens Need

Learn how you can protect your preteens and teens from infection with these vaccine recommendations.

Vaccinations are something to shine a light on as your adolescents head back to school. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has the following vaccine recommendations for pre-teens and teens who haven’t gotten these life-savers:

Quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine: All 11 to 12-year-olds need a single inoculation. At 16, they’ll need a second shot, so they stay protected when their risk is the highest. The vaccination protects against some bacteria that cause meningitis—infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord—and bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia).

HPV vaccine: All boys and girls should ideally finish the HPV vaccine series before they turn 13, though catchup shots are available for older kids. This helps prevent cancers of the cervix, throat, vagina and penis.

Tdap vaccine: This is a booster shot that continues protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (also called whooping cough). As kids get older, the protection from the DTaP shot they got when they were much younger starts to wear off.

Flu vaccine: Last but not least, all pre-teens and teens should get one every year by the end of October. If your child has asthma or diabetes, it is especially important because they’re more likely to contract the flu and to have more serious complications from it.

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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