Don’t Forget Your Preteen or Teen!

August is National Immunization Awareness Month. This campaign is a reminder for people of all ages about the importance of getting vaccinated (shots). Preteens and teens are a group that you may not think about when talking about shots. Immunizations can help protect your preteen or teen from diseases they may be at risk for now and the future. As teens get older, the protection provided by some childhood vaccines begins to wear off; therefore, additional shots are needed (boosters). There are also new shots that are recommended for their age group.

There are four vaccines recommended for preteens and teens. Everyone age 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year. In addition to the flu shot, adolescents should be given three other vaccines when they are 11 – 12 years old, including Tdap, Meningitis, and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. Ask your health care provider at your next office visit about the shots your preteen or teen may need.
The vaccines recommended for adolescents include:
·        Tdap vaccine, to provide additional protection against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. Pertussis, or whooping cough, can keep children out of school for weeks. It can also be spread to babies, which can be very dangerous.
·        Meningitis vaccine, to protect against meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is caused by bacteria and is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis (a serious infection around the brain and spinal cord).
·        HPV vaccine, to protect against HPV. It is recommended for both boys and girls. HPV is the most common cause of cervical cancer in girls, and can also cause genital warts, throat cancer and anal cancer in both girls and boys.
·        Influenza vaccine, to protect against the flu. Even healthy kids can get the flu, and it can be serious. All kids should get the flu vaccine every year.
Preteens and teens are looking to you to help protect their health. Adolescents require a Tdap vaccine before the start of 6th grade for school entrance. If you are a parent or guardian, review your child’s shot record, talk to your child’s health care provider, and make sure your child is up-to-date on vaccinations and ready to go back to school. Schedule your appointment TODAY for any needed immunizations. This will prevent your child from missing any days from school due to needing vaccinations.
For more information on immunizations, contact the Onondaga County Health Department at
435-2000 or visit