Immunizations for Life

Why immunizing your teen is important.

Recent outbreaks of infectious diseases that were once eliminated in the US in 2000, are making an alarming comeback. The reasons are complex as are the rise in the number of families choosing not to immunize their children. This makes children particularly vulnerable when they come into contact with an infected person.  

Remember: Getting immunizations is a life-long practice, so be sure to ask your child’s doctor about the recommended childhood vaccinations during the next well care visit.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the following immunizations be completed by age 13:

  • Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap)

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)

  • Meningococcal (MCV4)

Need a complete list of immunizations for teens? Visit our vaccine resource.


HPV Vaccine

If you knew about a vaccine that could prevent a certain cancer, wouldn’t you want to take advantage and give your child the chance to be protected? The Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine does just that. It targets the most common types of viruses that cause cervical cancer and genital warts.

Who should get the vaccine? The HPV vaccine is routinely recommended for girls who are 11 or 12 and young women up to age 26 who have not been vaccinated. Doctors may also immunize girls beginning at age nine.

The full three-dose series must be completed for your child to be protected against the virus. The HPV4 vaccine, which is recommended for the prevention of genital warts in girls, may also be given to boys ages 9 to 26. To learn more, visit cdc.gov.


Meningococcal Disease — Know the Symptoms

Meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection that commonly results in meningococcal meningitis. Unlike viral meningitis, which is also serious, meningococcal meningitis can be fatal. If your child shows signs of these symptoms, don't wait. Seek care right away.

  • Sudden onset of fever

  • Headache

  • Stiff neck

  • Nausea/vomiting

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Confusion

The good news? Meningococcal disease is preventable with the meningococcal vaccine, MCV4. View our online vaccine resource to learn about other recommended immunizations for adolescents.


Check It Out

The CDC’s website provides the basics about immunizations and vaccinations, talks to parents about why it is so important to immunize and provides answers to common questions.

Last review date: February 12, 2019