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Any visit to the doctor— from an annual health checkup to a physical for sports, camp, or college—can be a good time for preteens and teens to get the recommended vaccinations. Even if your child is going to the doctor because they are sick or hurt, they still may be able to get shots that they need. Before visits to the doctor, review this easy-to-read version of the Recommended Immunizations for Children from 7 through 18 Years Old [PDF - 478KB].
While your preteens and teens are thinking about all the fun things they'll be doing this summer, you're probably thinking about keeping them healthy and safe. When you're planning trips to get new swimsuits and sunscreen, make an appointment for vaccinations before the back-to-school rush begins at the doctor's office. Vaccines can help our kids stay healthy, and most states require certain vaccinations before school starts again in the fall.
There are four vaccines recommended for preteens and teens—these vaccines help protect your children, their friends, and their family members. While your kids should get a flu vaccine every year, the three other preteen vaccines should be given when kids are 11- 12 years old. Teens may also need a booster of a vaccine that requires more than one dose to be fully protected.
The following vaccines are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM), and CDC:
The vaccines for preteens and teens are very safe. Some kids might have some mild side effects from shots, such as redness and soreness in the arm. Some preteens and teens may faint after getting a shot or any other medical procedure. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes after getting shots can help prevent fainting. Most side effects from vaccines are very minor, especially compared with the serious diseases that these vaccines prevent.
Be sure to check with the doctor to make sure that your preteen or teen has received all of the vaccines recommended for them. They may need to "catch up" on vaccines they might have missed when they were younger.
Most health insurance plans cover the cost of vaccines. If you don't have insurance, or if it does not cover vaccines, the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program may be able to help. The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program provides vaccines for children ages 18 years and younger, who are not insured or who are underinsured, Medicaid-eligible, American Indian or Alaska Native.
Last syndicated: December 11, 2013
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