Fact Sheet

This fact sheet provides information about vaccines recommended to protect adolescents against serious infectious diseases. Included in the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations are vaccines for all adolescents (11-18 years old), ideally starting at the routine age 11-12 year visit, catch-up vaccines, and vaccines for adolescents with specific risk conditions that place them at higher risk of certain diseases or complications.

Vaccines for all adolescents

  • Meningococcal A, C, W, and Y (MCV4)
  • Meningococcal B (Category B, permissive recommendation)
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap)
  • Influenza
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Vaccines for “catch-up” of adolescents not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated as children

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B 
  • Polio
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)
  • Varicella (chickenpox) 

Vaccines for adolescents with certain underlying conditions or risk factors 
  • Hepatitis A
  • Pneumococcal disease 
  • Meningococcal B

† According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and others
Vaccines should be administered at the earliest possible opportunity to achieve immunity and increase the chances of avoiding disease.
  • All adolescents should have a routine physical that includes vaccinations at age 11-12 years, with an MCV4 booster vaccine at age 16 years.†
  • Older adolescents should be vaccinated as soon as possible.Vaccines protect adolescents against many serious and deadly diseases.

 FACT:  Meningococcal disease most often causes meningitis and blood infection
 FACT: One in ten adolescents who get meningococcal disease will die and two in ten will have serious long-term complications like hearing loss, brain damage, kidney damage, and limb amputations
 FACT: Early symptoms of meningococcal disease may look like a mild illness, but the infection can progress rapidly, killing an otherwise healthy adolescent in 24-48 hours
 FACT: The meningococcal vaccine recommended for all adolescents at age 11-12 years and again at age 16 years protects against four types of meningococcal bacteria (A, C, W, and Y)
 FACT: The serogroup B meningococcal vaccine is recommended for adolescents with certain risk conditions and those living in an area or on a campus experiencing a serogroup B meningococcal disease outbreak
 FACT: Meningococcal serogroup B vaccine may be given to adolescents and young adults age 16-23 years, with a preferred age of 16-18 years. With a permissive (Category B) recommendation from CDC, the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program provides serogroup B vaccines at no cost for eligible children. Private insurers are also likely to cover serogroup B vaccines.
 FACT: Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the US. There are more than six million new HPV infections in the US every year.
 FACT: All HPV vaccines protect against HPV types 16 and 18, which cause the majority of HPV-related cancers. One HPV vaccine also includes protection against five additional types that together cause another 10 percent of HPV-related cancers. 
 FACT: Cases of pertussis (whooping cough) have been on the rise after an all time low of 1,010 reported cases in 1976.
 FACT: Whooping cough is most dangerous and deadly in newborn babies who are too young to be vaccinated. The best way to protect them is by vaccinating adolescents and adults around them.
 FACT: The tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis booster (Tdap) replaces the previously recommended tetanus and diphtheria (Td) booster at age 11-12 years or in older adolescents who need a Td booster.
 FACT: Immunity from pertussis vaccines given in childhood decreases over time, which is why the Tdap booster vaccine is recommended.
 FACT: Cases and deaths from most vaccine-preventable diseases targeted since 1980, such as varicella (chickenpox), have declined by 80 percent or more because of widespread immunization.
 FACT: Influenza vaccination is recommended annually for maximum protection.
 FACT: Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for everyone age six months and older.
 FACT: Measles is one of the most contagious viral diseases known. That’s why even a small decrease in vaccination rates can lead to a large number of cases.

July 2015