Welcome to the State of California 

What Shots Does My Preteen or Adolescent Need?

As parents, we can’t be near our children every minute. Immunizing our children is one thing we can do to protect their health for years to come.

Vaccines for 11-18 year olds

What this means for YOUR child

(tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough)

Tdap protects against 3 dangerous serious and potentially life-threatening diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough (also called pertussis).

Whooping cough outbreaks are ongoing in many states. It continues to be seen at increased levels in California.

All students going into 7th grade must have proof of having had the Tdap booster shot unless they have a documented exemption. For more information, visit www.shotsforschool.org.


Meningococcal meningitis is easily spread by kissing, sharing drinks, coughing, or sneezing. This disease could cause your otherwise healthy child to lose an arm or leg, become paralyzed, or die. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends one dose at age 11 or 12 and a booster dose at age 16.


Chickenpox is usually worse for adolescents and adults than for kids. A total of two doses of chickenpox vaccine are needed if your child has never had chickenpox disease.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

This 3-shot vaccine series is recommended for girls and boys. There are two HPV vaccines named Gardasil® and Cervarix®. Both are safe and effective in preventing cervical cancer in women. As of 2011, Gardasil® is also licensed for boys and girls to protect against genital warts and other cancers. HPV vaccine is recommended at 11 or 12 years of age, but it’s available for teens and  young adults through 26 years of age.

Seasonal flu

The flu is a serious illness. Even young and healthy children need protection against the flu!

How can I get help paying for vaccines?

Getting your child vaccinated can be easy and inexpensive. For families with health insurance, all or most of the cost of vaccines is usually covered. Children age 18 and younger may be eligible to get vaccines free through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program if they are: Medicaid eligible; uninsured; underinsured; or American Indian or Alaska Native. Doctors can charge a fee to give each shot. However, VFC vaccines cannot be denied to an eligible child if the family cannot afford the fee.

To find a provider near you, call 1-877-243-8832 or use the VFC Provider Locator. Some local pharmacies and health departments may also offer vaccines.

For more information:

Last modified on: 10/18/2013 2:14 PM