Begin Main Content Area

Pre-Teen and Teen Immunizations

Adolescents, ages 7 to 18 years old, may require additional vaccinations because as children grow older, protection from childhood vaccines can wear off.  This leaves them more at risk for disease. 

What vaccines do adolescents need?  

What are the recommended adolescent vaccines?  

What are the required school immunizations in PA?  

How can I get help paying for vaccines?  

Are vaccines safe for my child?  

Vaccine-Preventable Diseases for Adolescents

Tetanus (lockjaw) -  A disease of the nervous system caused by Clostridium tetani bacteria causing lockjaw, stiffness in the neck and abdomen, and difficulty swallowing which may progress into severe muscle spasms, generalized tonic seizure-like activity and severe autonomic nervous system disorders. Everyone needs protection against tetanus. If you have not had a booster shot in 10 years or more, or have never had the initial three-shot series, you should be vaccinated.                   

Diphtheria -  is a potentially fatal, contagious disease that usually involves the nose, throat and air passages, but may also infect the skin. Its most striking feature is the formation of a grayish membrane covering the tonsils and upper part of the throat. Everyone needs protection from diphtheria. If you have not had a booster shot in 10 years or more, or have never had the initial three-shot series, you should be vaccinated.

Pertussis - Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a serious infection that causes coughing spells so severe that it can be hard to breath. Adults and adolescents typically have a milder form of pertussis; however, they can easily spread the infection to infants and young children, who are at greatest risk of serious complications including death.

Influenza (flu) - The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent seasonal flu is by getting a seasonal flu vaccination each year. 

Measles -  is a highly infectious respiratory disease that can result in severe, sometimes permanent, complications including pneumonia, seizures, brain damage and death.

Mumps - is caused by the mumps virus, which lives and reproduces in the upper respiratory tract. Mumps can lead to serious complications such as deafness, meningitis (infection of the brain and spinal cord covering), painful swelling of the testicles or ovaries, and, rarely, death. 

Rubella -  also known as German measles, is a viral disease spread by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. The main concern with rubella is infection in pregnant women. There is at least a 20 percent chance of damage to the fetus if a woman is infected with rubella early in pregnancy.

Hepatitis B - Hepatitis B is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It can often be a silent disease that affects people without making them feel sick. Chronic hepatitis B disease can result in long-term health problems and even death. 

Human Papillomavirus - Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of more than 100 viruses that are usually spread through sexual contact. The most serious long-term complication of HPV infection is cervical cancer. 

Varicella - Chickenpox is caused by the highly contagious varicella zoster virus and results in a skin rash of blister-like lesions, covering the body but usually more concentrated on the face, scalp and trunk. Most, infected individuals have fever, which develops just before or when the rash appears. 

Meningitis - Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. People sometimes refer to it as spinal meningitis. Meningitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Viral meningitis is generally less severe and clears up without specific treatment. But bacterial meningitis can be quite severe and may result in brain damage, hearing loss or learning disabilities. High fever, headache, and stiff neck are common symptoms of meningitis in anyone over the age of two years. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take one to two days. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright lights, confusion and sleepiness. 

Pneumococcus - Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by a type of bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). There are different types of pneumococcal disease, such as pneumococcal pneumonia, bacteremia, meningitis and otitis media. Pneumococcus is in many people's noses and throats and is spread by coughing, sneezing or contact with respiratory secretions. Pneumococcal disease can be fatal. In some cases, it can result in long-term problems, like brain damage, hearing loss and limb loss.

Hepatitis A - Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV).  The infection is most often spread by the fecal-oral route. It can also be spread by close person-to-person contact such as household or sexual contact with an infected person. The virus is also spread by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. Hepatitis A is the most common vaccine-preventable disease acquired during travel. 

Poliomyelitis (polio) - Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus that invades the nervous system. Up to 95 percent of persons infected will have no symptoms. One percent of polio cases result in permanent paralysis of the limbs, usually the legs. Of those paralyzed, 5 to10 percent die when paralysis strikes the respiratory muscles.