Why should I vaccinate my preteen or teen?

Protection into adulthood!

As children enter their teen years, the protection provided by the vaccines they received in their early years begins to decrease. Fortunately, vaccines like Tdap that are given between age 11 and 12 help boost their protection through their teen years.

Preteens and teens should also receive new vaccines that protect them into adulthood. As children become more independent and engage in more activities, they are at an increased risk of additional vaccine-preventable diseases.

As children grow, they do not have as many regular wellness checks and visits with a doctor. This, in addition to activities like sharing drinks and utensils, kissing, and having more interpersonal contact with others can lead preteens and teens to passing along illness and serious diseases.

What are vaccines?

Vaccines use very small amounts of antigens to help your child’s immune system recognize diseases and learn to fight them. Antigens include any substance that causes the body’s immune system to respond and go to work fighting the virus.

Vaccines are safe and effective for children. By following your child’s immunization schedule and getting them vaccinated as recommended by pediatricians, you can help protect them from serious vaccine-preventable diseases.

Which diseases do vaccines
help prevent?

Today’s vaccines help protect children from these diseases:

Covid-19 (Coronavirus)

A disease caused by the virus, SARS-CoV-2, discovered in December 2019. It causes a respiratory illness similar to the common cold or flu. It is spread person to person through respiratory droplets in the air from coughing, sneezing or talking. Symptoms can include cough, fever, difficulty breathing or loss of taste or smell. In some cases, Covid-19 can cause severe illness, hospitalization or death. LEARN MORE

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

A group of common viruses that infect adult men and women as well as teens. It is spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact, most commonly through vaginal or anal sex. Most infections go away on their own, but others can lead to certain types of cancers. LEARN MORE

Influenza (Flu)

A respiratory virus spread through the air by coughing, sneezing, talking or from contact with surfaces that have the virus on them. The flu affects each person differently and symptoms vary. LEARN MORE

Meningococcal Disease

A bacterial disease spread through saliva and respiratory droplets in the air from coughing, sneezing or talking. The two most common types of infections from meningococcal disease are infections of the bloodstream or infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). Symptoms similar to the flu can set in suddenly (fever, headache, stiff neck, vomiting) and progress quickly. The effects of this disease can be very severe. LEARN MORE


Helps protect against three serious diseases: tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis (whooping cough).

  • Tetanus – A bacterial disease that enters through deep cuts and puncture wounds. It can cause headaches and spasms in the jaw muscles, leading to lockjaw. LEARN MORE
  • Diphtheria – A disease caused by bacteria that live in an infected person’s mouth or throat, spread through coughing and sneezing. Symptoms can include a sore throat or fever and can also cause difficulty breathing. LEARN MORE
  • Acellular Pertussis (Whooping Cough) – A highly contagious disease caused by bacteria spread through the air that can lead to violent coughing spells that can affect eating, drinking and breathing. LEARN MORE

When do I vaccinate my preteen or teen?

A schedule of recommended vaccines is provided from the CDC. The Louisiana Department of Health provides a summary of these recommendations.

Get your preteen or teen on schedule!

Children should receive a majority of the recommended vaccines by age two. Additional vaccines are recommended before the start of school and then again as a preteen/teenager.

Has your child gotten off schedule? It’s not too late to get them back on track. Talk with your child’s doctor to determine the best approach to ensuring your child keeps up with his/her vaccinations.

Vaccines & School Attendance

Louisiana state law requires that children receive specific vaccines according to their vaccine schedule in order to enroll in school. Learn more about these requirements and find additional vaccine resources below.