College & Young Adults
Most vaccines are given early in childhood or early adolescence, but college students and young adults need certain immunizations, too. These vaccines are specifically recommended for young adults ages 19 through 24:
Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MenACWY) helps protect against bacterial meningitis and may be required for certain college students (requirements vary by state).
- First-year college students living in residence halls are recommended to be vaccinated with meningococcal conjugate vaccine. If they received this vaccine before their 16th birthday, they should get a booster dose before going to college for maximum protection.
- The risk for meningococcal disease among non-first-year college students is similar to that for the general population. However, MenACWY is safe and effective and therefore can be provided to non-first-year college students.
Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, or whooping cough.
- A single dose of Tdap is routinely recommended for preteens and teens (preferably at age 11-12 years); however, adults 19 or older who did not receive Tdap as a preteen or teen should receive a single dose of Tdap.
- Tdap is especially important for pregnant women and those in close contact with infants. Pregnant women should receive a dose of Tdap during each pregnancy, preferably at 27 through 36 weeks to maximize that amount of protective antibodies passed to the baby, but the vaccine can be safely given at any time during pregnancy. New mothers who have never gotten Tdap should get a dose as soon as possible after delivery.
- Tdap can be given no matter when Td (tetanus and diphtheria vaccine) was last received.
HPV vaccine protects against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes most cases of cervical and anal cancers, as well as genital warts.
HPV vaccination is recommended for teens and young adults who did not start or finish the HPV vaccine series at age 11 or 12 years.
- Young women under age 27 and young men under age 22 should be vaccinated.
- Young men between the ages of 22 and 27 may be vaccinated and should discuss this with their doctor or nurse. Young men between the ages of 22 and 27 who have compromised immune systems or have sex with other men should also be vaccinated.
- Even if it has been many years since a first or second dose of HPV vaccine, young adults should still complete the HPV vaccination series. The HPV vaccine series does not need to be restarted if there is a long gap in between doses.
Seasonal flu vaccine protects against the three or four flu viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season.
- The flu can cause severe illness that may require hospital care, even in healthy adults
- In general, the flu vaccine works best among young healthy adults and older children.
- Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.
If you are leaving the country, you may need certain vaccines before you travel – find out which vaccines you may need before you leave
Last reviewed: April 2015