Preteens & Adolescents

Recommended Vaccines

DiseaseDescriptionVaccine
Pertussis (Whooping Cough)Pertussis (whooping cough) is highly contagious and causes severe coughing fits. The coughing can cause your preteen to miss weeks of school, sports, and social activities.The Tdap vaccine protects against three serious diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. All preteens should get one Tdap shot at age 11 or 12 years.
Meningococcal infectionMeningococcal infection can be very serious, even deadly. Even with antibiotic treatment, about 1 in 10 people with meningococcal disease will die from it. About 20% of survivors will have long-lasting disabilities, such as loss of limb or brain damage.The meningococcal conjugate vaccine protects against many types of bacteria that cause meningococcal disease. Preteens should receive this vaccine when they are 11 or 12 years old and a booster shot at age 16 years.
HPVHPV is a common virus that has many different strains or types. HPV infection can cause cervical cancer in women and penile cancer in men. HPV can also cause anal cancer, throat cancer, and genital warts in both men and women.HPV vaccines are given to preteens when they are 11 or 12 years old. Three shots are needed over a six month period for full protection.
InfluenzaInfluenza or “flu” is a contagious infection of the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu can cause mild to severe illness, and in some cases can cause death.The influenza vaccine is available as a shot or nasal spray. The single best way to protect against the flu is to have your preteen vaccinated each year.

Information for Parents

How are the Immunization Recommendations determined?

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) provides guidance to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the control of vaccine-preventable diseases. The role of the ACIP is to provide advice that will lead to a reduction in vaccine preventable disease in the U.S. and an increase in the safe use of vaccines. The ACIP develops written recommendations for the routine administration of vaccines to children and adults.

Preteen vaccine recommendations made by the ACIP are supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the Society for Adolescent Medicine (SAM).

Are these vaccines safe and effective?

Vaccines used in the United States are held to the highest standard of safety. Years of testing are required by law before a vaccine can be licensed. Once in use, vaccines are continually monitored for safety and effectiveness.

Like any medication, vaccines can cause side effects. Concerns about side effects from the vaccines can sometimes cause parents to delay or refuse vaccinations for their preteens; however, a decision not to immunize your preteen also involves risk and could put your preteen and others who come into contact with him or her at risk for contracting a potentially deadly disease.

Each person is unique and may react differently to vaccination. The most common side effects preteens may experience are mild and may include redness and soreness at the injection site. For more information on the safety of vaccines, individuals who should not be vaccinated, and possible side effects, click here.

How will I pay for these vaccination?

Most insurance companies cover immunizations recommended for preteens. If your child does not have health insurance or your health insurance does not cover immunizations, free vaccinations are available to eligible children through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. For more information about the VFC program, talk to your preteen’s doctor. If your preteen does not have a doctor or does not have health insurance, call 2-1-1, Aloha United Way’s information and referral line.

Where can I get more information about vaccines recommended for preteens?

Information for Preteens

Activate your Immune Platoon to fight against nasty sometimes deadly diseases by getting vaccinated at your 11 or 12 year old check-up. Vaccinations help your immune system to fight certain diseases. Click here to learn how the Immune Platoon works to keep you healthy. To learn how vaccines work, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Talk to your parents about making an appointment with your doctor to get your vaccinations.

Personal Stories of Parents Who Have Lost Children
and Teens to Vaccine Preventable Diseases

Meningitis: In Memory of Ryan Milley
Pertussis: Newborn’s Death Emphasizes Need to Consider Pertussis in Differential Diagnosis of Coughing Adults
Human Papillomavirus (HPV): HPV Vaccine Has Potential to Reduce Worldwide Cancer Deaths by more than 200,000
Influenza: Unprotected people—Influenza ends Martin McGowan’s life