Vaccine recommendations for teens


by DR. WENDY SUE SWANSON / Seattle Mama Doc

Posted on August 21, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 21 at 9:35 AM

Since 2005 doctors have recommended certain teen immunizations, but rates of teens who are up to date on shots lag.

Back in 2007, vaccine recommendations were expanded to include HPV vaccine for girls. In 2011, both boys and girls were recommended to get HPV shots.

Although the majority of teens get the Tdap shot (tetanus and whooping cough booster), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms that only a third of teen girls are up to date on their HPV shots through 2012.

HPV is the virus that causes about 19,000 cancers in women every year and 8,000 in men, according to the CDC. Women most commonly get cervical cancer as a result of the virus, while men are most likely to get throat cancer.

Vaccines recommended for ages 11 and up:
- Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis)
- MCV4 (meningitis)
- HPV (human papillomavirus)

Studies on teen shots:
- From 2008-’10, parents declined HPV shots more than others
- Intention to get HPV shot decreased over the years
- 80 percent of teens had their Tdap, 63 percent had MCV4, only 32 percent had HPV
- Get HPV shots to protect against cancer

What parents need to know:
- HPV, Tdap, and MCV4 are all recommended at age 11
- Both boys and girls benefit from HPV shots
- No serious safety concerns with HPV shot
- Don’t wait until teens are sexually active
- Parental anxiety aboutt shots increases teen anxiety

Related links:
Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson on teen vaccines
• Pediatrics study on why teens don’t get shots 
• New York Times: Not Enough Girls Getting HPV
• CDC HPV Fact Sheet