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Children's Vaccines Health Center

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Immunizations - Adolescent Immunizations

Meningococcal conjugate (Menactra or Menveo)(What is a PDF document?)

This shot protects against a bacteria that causes meningitis and blood infections (sepsis).

Who should get it?

  • All adolescents need two doses, one at age 11 or 12 and one at age 16.
  • Teens and young adults ages 13 to 21 who haven't had this vaccine should get it as soon as possible. This includes college freshmen who live in dormitories.

People who have a damaged or missing spleen or who have certain immune system problems need a booster dose every 5 years.

Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap)(What is a PDF document?)

This booster shot protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough (pertussis).

Who should get it?

  • All preteens ages 11 or 12 need one Tdap shot.
  • All teens who haven't had the shot should get it as soon as possible.

Other immunizations

Some adolescents may need or want additional immunizations for situations that increase a person's risk for exposure to disease, such as being in group living situations (when attending college or summer camp) or traveling to other countries. They may have missed shots when they were younger. Or a vaccine may not have been offered when they were younger. These immunizations may include:

Chickenpox (varicella)(What is a PDF document?)

This is important if your child never had chickenpox or never got this shot.

This shot (called Varivax) protects against chickenpox.

Who should get it?

  • Adolescents and adults who are not already immune to the chickenpox virus need this shot. Anyone who gets this shot at age 13 or older should get two doses at least 4 weeks apart.

Chickenpox infection can be very serious when it occurs after childhood.

Hepatitis A (Hep A)(What is a PDF document?)

This shot protects against hepatitis A disease. Two doses are needed over at least 6 months.

Who should get it?

  • Adolescents may need this shot if they did not get it as a child. Talk to your child's doctor if your child never got this shot.
  • Some states and communities have set up routine immunization because hepatitis A occurs there more often than in other areas. Adolescents living in these areas need this shot.
  • Adolescents in communities where outbreaks of hepatitis A are happening may need this shot.
  • Anyone 1 year of age and older who is traveling to certain foreign countries also needs this shot.
  • Anyone who will be in close contact with an adopted child from a country that has high rates of hepatitis A needs this shot. This includes household contacts and babysitters. This recommendation only applies for the first 60 days the child is in the United States.6
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