Do you have a teen starting back to school? It’s time to think vaccines!

Here’s a timely reminder from the CDC to us healthcare professionals about being sure we update the vaccines of our teenage patients. It’s also a good reminder to those with a teen child

Dear Clinician:

Research shows that preteens and teens may not get as many “well child” visits, so please use every opportunity (such as school vaccination mandates, sports physicals, or mild sick visits) to help educate parents and promote preteen vaccines.

Adolescent Vaccination for ALL 11 or 12 year olds:

  • ALL 11 or 12 year old GIRLS should get 3 doses of either HPV vaccine to protect against cervical cancer; all 11 or 12 year old BOYS should get 3 doses of quadrivalent HPV vaccine to protect against genital warts and anal cancer.
  • ALL should receive a single dose of Tdap vaccine if they have completed the recommended childhood DTP/DTaP vaccination series and have not received Tdap.
  • ALL should receive a single dose of meningococcal vaccine, with a booster dose at age 16 years.
  • ALL should receive a single dose of flu vaccine every year.

These recommendations are supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine.

For all vaccines given during adolescence, syncope has been reported in both boys and girls. To avoid serious injury related to a syncopal episode, adolescents should always be sitting or lying down to receive vaccines, remain so for 15 minutes, AND be observed during this time.

Adolescent Vaccination Recommendations and Administration

Tdap HPV MCV4 Flu
Tetanus & diphtheria toxoids & acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap) Human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) Meningococcal conjugate vaccine, quadrivalent (MCV4) Influenza vaccine (Seasonal Flu)
Summary for ACIP Recommendations for Tdap:• Administer Tdap at age 11-12, as well as at age 13-18 if they have not yet received Tdap, followed by Td booster dose every 10 years.• Those 7-10 years not fully immunized, never vaccinated, or have unknown status against pertussis should receive single dose of Tdap. Refer to the catch-up schedule if additional doses of Td-containing vaccine are needed.• Tdap can be administered regardless of interval since the last Td–containing vaccine.

• For pregnant teens not previously vaccinated with Tdap, administer one dose of Tdap during the third trimester or late second trimester.

Summary for ACIP
Recommendations for HPV:• HPV4 or HPV2 is recommended for the prevention of cervical precancers and cancers in females.• HPV4 is recommended for prevention of cervical and anal precancers, cancers, as well as genital warts in females.• HPV4 is recommended for prevention of anal precancers and cancers, as well as genital warts in males.

• HPV vaccine is a 3-dose series. Administer the second dose 1 to
2 m after the first dose and the third dose 6 m after the first dose (at least 24 weeks after the first dose).

Summary for ACIP
Recommendations for MCV4:• Administer MCV4 at age 11-12 with a booster dose at age 16 years.• Administer 1 dose at age 13-18 if not previously vaccinated.• Persons who received their first dose at age 13-15 should receive a booster dose at age 16-18 years.

• Administer 1 dose to previously unvaccinated college freshmen living in a dormitory or military recruits living in barracks.

• Persons with HIV infection who are vaccinated with MCV4 should receive 2 doses at least 8 weeks apart.

Summary for ACIP
Recommendations for Influenza:• Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older.• For healthy nonpregnant persons age 7-18 (i.e., those who do not have underlying medical conditions that predispose them to influenza complications), either LAIV or TIV may be used.

What can YOU do to ensure your patients get fully vaccinated?

  • Strongly recommend adolescent vaccines to parents of your 11 through 18 year old patients. Parents trust your opinion more than anyone else’s when it comes to immunizations.
  • Use every opportunity to vaccinate your adolescent patients. Ask about vaccination status when they come in for sick visits and sports physicals.
  • Look into patient reminder and recall systems such as automated postcards, phone calls and text messages—all effective tools for increasing office visits.
  • Educate parents about the diseases that can be prevented by adolescent vaccines. Parents may know very little about pertussis, meningococcal disease, or HPV-associated diseases.
  • Implement standing orders policies so that patients can receive vaccines without a physician examination or individual physician order.
  • Direct parents who want more information on vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases to visit CDC at or to call 800-CDC-INFO.

More resources are available for you at:

This includes free materials, such as posters, an easy-to-read vaccination schedule for parents, free e-cards to send as reminders to patients, and much more.

For more detailed information for clinicians about all of the preteen vaccines, click here:

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