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Immunizations for Preteens and Teens

Protecting children against disease continues after they are no longer young children.

Preteens (age 11-12) and teenagers are at risk for diseases like meningitis (brain swelling), tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis), influenza and HPV-associated cancers.

Vaccination is the best protection from these diseases. Do no delay vaccination.

Preteen and teenagers may need some of the immunizations they should receive and infants and toddlers. If they missed any of those vaccinations, talk to your provider about catching up.

CDC resources

Resources from the CDC for preteens and teens provide additional materials for you about vaccinations.

Learn more


Preteen and teen immunizations FAQ

Are vaccines safe?

Modern vaccines are very safe. They must pass rigorous safety studies before approval, and there are ongoing studies to identify any new problems. Marshfield Clinic Research Institute is a leader in vaccine safety and effectiveness research.

My child had a flu shot last year, why do they need one this year?

The flu vaccine does not provide long term protection because the virus is always mutating and the body’s immune response weakens over time. The annual flu shot provides protection against the most common strains of flu virus each year.

Why vaccinate my preteen for HPV when she’s not sexually active?

The HPV works best in pre-teens to build a strong immunity against future exposure. It’s best to get the protection before any sexual activity begins.

What is the truth about dangerous vaccine side effects?

Vaccines can sometimes cause mild side effects like soreness or fever, but serious side effects are very rare. There is a great deal of misinformation about vaccines on the internet. Talk to your doctor or for accurate online information visit:

My child is going to college soon, what vaccinations do they need?

Your child should be up-to-date on all adolescent vaccinations, including the meningitis vaccine. A new vaccine against serogroup B meningitis was licensed in 2014. Talk to your doctor about whether your child should get this vaccine.

Can my doctor vaccinate my child if they are sick?

In cases of a slight fever or cold, most likely yes. However, it’s always best to check with your doctor. In some cases, your doctor may want you to wait.