Vaccines for Teens

If you have a teenager, you may think that he or she has had all of the needed vaccines. But that’s not necessarily so.

Teenagers should have already been vaccinated for the following:

  • Tetanus and diphtheria
  • chickenpox
  • Hepatitis B
  • Whooping cough
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella
  • Polio
  • Hib

However, may teens may have missed some of these important shots:

  • They may have missed the hepatitis B vaccine, for instance, especially if they were born before 1991.
  • They may have been born in another country that does not require some of these vaccines.
  • They may have missed some appointments for their shots.

Even if they had all their childhood vaccinations, they may be ready for booster shots. The protection that some vaccines give does not last forever. That’s why everyone needs a tetanus and diphtheria booster shot every 10 years – even as adults.

Some teens are also at high risk for other diseases. they may need some additional vaccines:

  • All children should get three shots of the hepatitis B vaccine. But teenagers are at special risk. If your teen hasn’t already had it, make sure he or she gets this vaccine.Hepatitis B can be spread through contact with an infected person’s blood, like when sharing a toothbrush, razor, or needles. You can also get it from having unprotected sex, or using un-sterilized medical equipment for tattoos or body piercing’s.Hundreds of young people in the US get hepatitis B every week. It’s a serious and sometimes deadly disease.
  • If a teen is traveling to a foreign country, he or she may need additional vaccines.
  • Teens who travel may need to get the hepatitis A vaccine. So should people who live in areas of the US with high rates of the disease. People with some medical conditions need it, too. Hepatitis can also be spread through contaminated food, unprotected sex, or illegal drug use.
  • Teens with certain health conditions may need additional vaccines to stay healthy. These can include vaccines for the flu, hepatitis A, and Pneumococcal diseases.
  • Teens heading off to college should think about the meningococcal vaccine. Meningitis can spread in places where people live close together, like dorms.
  • Teens, who are pregnant, or may become pregnant in the next month, should not get certain vaccines. You or your teen should first talk to your doctor.