Vaccination is deemed one of modern medicine’s greatest success stories. Vaccines have significantly reduced—or even eradicated—the incidence of various life-threatening but preventable diseases like smallpox, measles, and polio.
Similar to diet, exercise, and wellness exams, vaccines play a crucial role in a person’s health regardless of how old a person is. For teens, getting all the vaccines required for their age group paves the way for healthy adulthood.
If you have an adolescent child, here’s what you need to know about the vaccines they need, at what age they need them, and where to get them in Kent, Washington if you live in or around the area.
What Vaccines Does My Teen Need?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that preteens and teens should get the following vaccines:
- Yearly influenza shots
- Vaccines against two separate types of meningococcal disease
- Meningococcal conjugate (MenACWY)- First dose is administered at 11 to 12 years old and a booster shot at 16 years old
- Serogroup B meningococcal (MenB)- Administered preferably at 16 through 18 years (2 doses)
CDC strongly encourages that parents have their children and teens receive all vaccines according to the recommended schedule.
If your teen missed any of the following vaccines, make sure to schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider as soon as possible:
- Chickenpox (Varicella)- If your teen hasn’t been vaccinated and hasn’t had chickenpox, they need to get two doses of varicella vaccine. If they only had one dose, and it has been more than eight weeks since the first one, they can still get the second dose—no need to start all over again.
- Hepatitis A (HepA)- If your teen hasn’t received a HepA shot, they need to get two doses. If your teen only had one dose, and the second dose is significantly delayed, they don’t need to repeat the first dose. Schedule the second one as soon as you can.
- Hepatitis B (HepB)- Your teen needs three doses of the hepatitis B shot. If your teen had the first two doses but missed the third one, just schedule the last one when possible.
To ascertain that your teen is fully protected against hepatitis B, have them get a blood test to check their antibody titers, which will confirm if the vaccination was successful.
- HPV- If your teen hasn’t had the HPV vaccine, they will need two doses of it at six to twelve months intervals. The HPV vaccine protects your teen from the strains of human papillomavirus that cause several types of cancer, including cervical, penile, anal, and throat cancers.
- Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)- If your teen hasn’t had measles, they should get two doses of MMR vaccine, ideally at an interval of 28 days.
- Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap)- Your teen will need a dose of Tdap ten years after their first one and every ten years thereafter.
Before your teen enters college or a post-high school vocational setting, check the institution’s vaccine requirements. In addition, if your son or daughter will travel outside of the United States, find out what shots are recommended for the intended destination.
Vaccines in Kent, WA
At FamilyCare of Kent, we are vaccine proponents. We delight in educating our patients about the benefits of vaccines as well as in addressing all of their concerns about the safety thereof.
If your teen needs to catch up on their vaccines, arrange an appointment with one of our family nurse practitioners, so we can get them up to date. Call us at (253) 859-2273, or use our secure appointment request form.