Common Concerns

Vaccines for Adolescents
Help keep adolescents healthy and safe with immunizations

We think this is important for you to know…

New vaccines have recently become available and are recommended for all adolescents—meningococcal and pertussis vaccines. Three other vaccines (hepatitis B, varicella, and measles-mumps-rubella) are recommended for adolescents who did not receive them as children. Immunization has the potential to protect not only the health of adolescents but their friends, families, and communities.

Administering vaccines can be easy and inexpensive when delivered as part of a preventative visit to a healthcare provider. For families with health insurance, all or most of the cost is usually covered. Lower-income families may be eligible to get the vaccines at no cost through a program called Vaccines For Children (VFC). To learn more about the VFC program, visit the website www.cdc.gov/nip/vfc/Default.htm or contact your state VFC coordinator listed at www.cdc.gov/nip/vfc/contacts_vfc_coord.htm

Vaccines and the Diseases they Prevent

Immunizations can prevent many of the diseases that pose serious threats to adolescents.

PERTUSSIS (WHOOPING COUGH)

  • Highly contagious with prolonged cough. If transmitted to infants, may be life-threatening.
  • Tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap) adds pertussis disease protection while maintaining tetanus and diphtheria protection.
  • Adolescents 11-18 years of age should receive a single shot of Tdap. Adolescents who received tetanus-diphtheria booster (Td) should receive Tdap 5 years after they received Td.

MENINGOCOCCAL INFECTIONS

  • Extremely serious disease that can rapidly progress to meningitis, pneumonia, and death
  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) provides protection against these infections.
  • Adolescents should receive a single shot of this vaccine during their 11-12 year old check-up or when they enter high school or college.

HEPATITIS B

  • Can cause different kinds of liver disease, including cancer
  • Adolescents who did not receive the hepatitis B vaccine during childhood should receive the three-shot course of this vaccine.

VARICELLA (CHICKENPOX)

  • Highly contagious and can be a serious and sometimes life-threatening disease
  • Adolescents who have not had chickenpox or the vaccine should receive this vaccine at their 11-12 year old check-up. If anyone is uncertain about having had this disease, a blood test can determine immunity.

MEASLES, MUMPS, & RUBELLA

  • Historically among the most serious vaccine-preventable diseases
  • Adolescents who did not receive the two-shot course of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) during childhood should receive this vaccine at their 11-12 year old check-up.

ADDITIONAL VACCINES
Some adolescents with specific health risks may need additional vaccines such as hepatitis A, influenza, and pneumococcal.

For more information on vaccines, visit the CDC website or Contact Center:

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Vaccines for Adolescence

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5082 Lovers Lane, Kalamazoo MI 49002   |   269-381-0118   |   Email Us

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