20 Aug 2014
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What Vaccines Do Teens Need?

Only half of San Diego County adolescents have gotten all of the recommended vaccines, officials say.

What Vaccines Do Teens Need?

Vaccinations don’t stop when children reach kindergarten. Preteens and adolescents also need to be up-to-date on them to stay healthy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adolescents get the annual flu shot, a pertussis booster (Tdap), and vaccines for meningococcal disease, human papillomavirus (HPV), and chickenpox (if needed.) Yet only half of the 300,000 adolescents in our region have received all recommended vaccines. 

Scheduling a preteen preventive health visit is a great way to make sure older youth and teens get their recommended vaccines.  This can also be done as part of a sports physical or other medical visit.

“These diseases can have serious and severe complications, including death in some cases, but they are preventable,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Vaccinating your children is the best line of defense.”

The CDC recommends these vaccines and doses at the ages below:




Flu (annually)

6 months and older

1-2 (depends on prior vaccination history)


11 – 12 years


Pertussis (Tdap)

11 – 12 year and older


Meningococcal disease

11 – 18 years



13 years and older


The vaccines are available at physician offices, community clinics, and many retail pharmacies. People without medical insurance can get vaccinated at one of the seven County Public Health Centers. 

Everyone 6 months and older should receive an annual flu shot. Two doses of flu vaccine are recommended for children 8 years and younger who are receiving it for the first time. Two doses of chickenpox vaccine are recommended for unvaccinated adolescents who have not had the disease.

Parents should also be aware that all seventh-graders need to show proof they received the pertussis booster shot (Tdap) before starting school.

For more information on vaccines, call the HHSA Immunization Branch at 866-358-2966 or visit sdiz.org.   

-County of San Diego news release

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