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Adolescent Immunization FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions


What shots do teens need?
When should teens get these shots?
Where should teens get these shots?
Why are shots important for teens?
Are shots required to attend school in Oregon?
Who says teens need shots?
What other preventive health services does a teen need?
Where can I get more information?


What Shots Do Teens Need?

All adolescents need the following shots:

  • A Tdap booster
  • Two doses of meningococcal vaccine
  • Three doses of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine
  • Influenza (flu) vaccine - one dose of either the flu shot or nasal mist every year

Check with your parents or health care provider to see if you received the shots listed below as a child. If you didn't, get them now.

  • Two doses of hepatitis A vaccine
  • Three doses of hepatitis B vaccine
  • Two doses of a measles-containing vaccine (usually MMR)
  • Two doses of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, if you did not have chickenpox disease

When Should Teens Get These Shots?

An adolescent health care visit is recommended at age 11-12. All of the shots an adolescent needs should be started at that visit. However, there is no need to wait. Children can get many of the recommended shots before age 11 if they are seeing their provider for another reason. Older adolescents can receive these vaccines as well.

Where Should Teens Go To Get These Shots?

Teens can go to their regular doctor, nurse, clinic and some pharmacies. If you or your parents have health insurance, it may pay for all the shots recommended for you. Also, many Oregon adolescents can receive shots at low cost or no cost through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. If you do not have a doctor, call your local health department or 1-800-SAFENET to get information on where to get immunizations.

Why Are Shots Important For Teens?

Teens need shots to stay healthy. The diseases these shots protect against are not something a person outgrows. In fact, diseases like tetanus and hepatitis B mostly affect adults. And some diseases, like chickenpox, are more dangerous for teens and adults than they are for small children. Shots are an investment in a teen's future.

Are Shots Required To Attend School in Oregon?

Yes. Students in grades 7 - 12 need proof of a Tdap shot to stay in school. Tdap is a vaccine that protects against three diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Tdap is recommended for all adolescents and adults. Other shots that are required for school include MMR, polio, hepatitis B, and varicella. Hepatitis A vaccine will be required for students in all grades in school year 2020 - 2021. A medical or nonmedical exemption is acceptable.

Who Says Teens Need Shots?

All of the major medical associations agree that teens need shots to stay healthy. Some of the shots recommended for all teens are also part of our school law in Oregon.

All of the shots that a teen needs can be started at an adolescent health visit when a child is 11 or 12 years old. This is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the U.S. Public Health Service's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

What Other Preventive Health Services Does A Teen Need?

The adolescent health visit may include a wide variety of health education, screening, and physical assessment services. Discussion topics might include diet/nutrition, exercise, injury prevention, depression, and risk behaviors, as well as immunization. Services will vary depending on a teen's specific needs.

Where Can I Get More Information?

Call your regular doctor, nurse, clinic or local health department or call 2-1-1.