Preteen Immunizations (9-12 years of age)
Help protect your child with timely vaccinations
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that your preteen get the following vaccinations before their 13th birthday. This is important for both short- and long-term health. Preteens should get the following four vaccines:
|Human papillomavirus (HPV)||Two doses at age 9-12 protect your preteen from infections and cancers caused by HPV. The first dose can be given as early as age 9. The 2nd dose is given 6 to 12 months after the first dose.|
|Tdap (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis)||One dose at age 11-12 protects preteens against three serious diseases: tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough).|
|Meningococcal||One dose at age 11-12 protects preteens against meningitis (swelling of the lining around the brain and spinal cord) and septicemia (an infection in the blood). A booster shot is recommended at age 16 for continued protection.|
|Flu||One dose every year to protect against the flu.|
Highlight on HPV Vaccine
Learn about how this vaccine helps prevent six types of cancer
What is HPV?
HPV stands for human papillomavirus and refers to a group of over 150 related viruses.1 Some types of HPV infection cause warts, and some can cause six different types of cancer. The virus is so common that it will infect most people at some point in their lives.2 Almost 35,000 men and women get HPV cancers in the U.S. each year.3 HPV vaccination can prevent more than 90% of HPV cancers when given at the recommended ages.4 The HPV vaccine can prevent HPV cancers in both boys and girls.
When does my child need the HPV vaccine?
- The CDC and the American Cancer Society recommend that boys and girls get the HPV vaccine between the ages of 9 and 12.
- If the first HPV dose is given on time, only 2 doses are needed. Children who begin vaccinating later may need an extra dose.
- Younger immune systems give a stronger more lasting protection against HPV. Older children (over 12) need more shots to create the same response. It's best to start the HPV vaccine series earlier so your child gets the best protection. Children who start the HPV shot series at an older age may have less protection.5
Vaccinating your child at the recommended ages can help keep them healthy well into adulthood and is the best way to prevent HPV cancers later in life.
Is it safe for preteens to get more than one shot in one visit?
Studies reveal their healthy immune systems can handle several shots with few side effects. This includes getting other shots with the COVID vaccine. Some side effects include redness, mild swelling, and a sore arm. A good time to ask about vaccines is during a yearly checkup or during a physical exam for sports, school, or camp. Check with your doctor to confirm which shots can be given during the same visit.
You can still get a shot if you've missed it. If you've missed some shots in a series of vaccines, you might not need to get the whole series again — you can simply pick up where you left off. Check with your doctor to confirm.
Please note: Always consult your doctor for medical advice. Health insurance covers the cost of the shots.
1 American Cancer Society. HPV and HPV Testing. (n.d.). Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.cancer.org/healthy/cancer-causes/infectious-agents/hpv/hpv-and-hpv-testing.html
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. STD Facts – Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm
3 American Cancer Society. HPV vaccination and cancer prevention. (n.d.). Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.cancer.org/healthy/hpv-vaccine.html
4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HPV vaccination: What everyone should know. Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/hpv/public/index.html
5 HealthyChildren.org. Here's why your preteen needs the HPV vaccine. (n.d.). Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/immunizations/Pages/How-to-Talk-to-Your-Preteen-About-HPV-Vaccine.aspx
Resources for Parents
Use the information and materials on this site to help you and your child understand the importance of the HPV vaccine and benefits.
- A Parent's Guide to Preteen and Teen HPV Vaccination (PDF). This guide provides parents answers to frequently asked questions about HPV and its vaccine.
- American Cancer Society. Risk, prevention, and screening information for parents.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Resources to help parents understand HPV infection, vaccine and cancer caused by HPV.
- Mayo Clinic. Information for parents about who needs the HPV vaccine and how it works.