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Immunizations for Adolescents

Recommended Immunization Schedule for Preteens and Teens

Vaccines given to young people aged 9 to 18 help prevent major health problems in the future. Issues like muscle paralysis, brain damage, infertility, blindness, and even cancer are preventable through vaccination.

The recommended vaccines work best with your child's immune system when given at this age. Call your pediatrician to make sure your child is up to date and protected.

Read more about vaccines for preteens and teens and the diseases they prevent:

  • Meningococcal Vaccine: At age 11 or 12, your teen should get their first meningococcal vaccine.
  • Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis): At age 11 or 12, teens will receive a Tdap vaccine to protect them against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). It's a slightly different version of a vaccine your child received as a baby (DTaP).
  • HPV Vaccine (Human papillomavirus): The HPV vaccine protects both males and females against strains of the virus that cause more than 90% cervical, penile, anal, mouth and throat cancers, as well as genital warts. The vaccine works better with a child's immune system at age 9-12, so they need just 2 doses. If they don't get the first dose until age 15, they need 3 shots.
  • Influenza (flu): The AAP and the CDC recommend the flu shot for everyone age 6 months and older, including teens, every year.
  • COVID-19: The COVID-19 vaccination is the best way to protect teens from long-term problems if they get sick with COVID.

This is also the time for your child to catch up on other recommended immunizations that they may have missed during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include hepatitis A, hepatitis B, polio, pneumococcal vaccine, the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and the chickenpox (varicella) vaccine. Is your child heading off to college? Some colleges and universities require students to be vaccinated. Check these requirements now, so your teen can be caught up before college starts.

School Entry Immunizations for Preteens and Teens

Your adolescent's immunization records are checked at the following times:

Certain exemptions to North Carolina’s Immunization Law are allowed.

Additional Resources: