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Resources for Teens & Young Adults

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You May Not Be Protected

You need immunizations to help protect against some serious diseases. Unity® Consortium can help address some of your concerns.

General Vaccine Questions

What vaccines do I need?

Adolescents are at risk for many of these serious diseases. While infants and young children get many vaccines, there are important vaccines that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends for adolescents and young adults:

 

  • Tdap: Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (whooping cough): Receive a Tdap vaccine between the ages of 11-12. Regular boosters are recommended every 10 years to protect those at risk.
  • Meningococcal ACWY: This is a two-dose vaccine, with the first dose recommended for ages 11-12 and the second recommended at age 16.
  • Meningococcal B: This vaccine is also a two-dose vaccine recommended for ages 16-18
  • HPV (Human papillomavirus): The vaccine is most effective at preventing associated cancers for both boys and girls when given during preteen years, starting at 9 years old.
  • Flu: Flu season typically starts in October and the virus can mutate each year. Annual vaccination is recommended.
  • COVID-19: Recommended for all people 6 months and over. At least one dose of the updated vaccine.

 

Click here for an easy-to-use reference guide of recommended vaccines for adolescents and young adults. Discuss any questions with your healthcare provider.

 

In addition, you should ask your healthcare provider if you are up to date on other recommended vaccines which are usually given at younger ages, including Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Chickenpox, Polio, Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and Pneumococcal disease

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The Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus (T), diphtheria (D), and pertussis (aP). Diphtheria and pertussis spread from person to person.

 

Tetanus enters the body through cuts or wounds. Tetanus causes painful stiffening of the muscles. It can lead to serious health problems, including being unable to open the mouth, having trouble swallowing and breathing, or death.

 

Diphtheria can lead to difficulty breathing, heart failure, paralysis, or death.

 

Pertussis, also known as “whooping cough,” can cause uncontrollable, violent coughing which makes it hard to breathe, eat, or drink.

 

Adolescents should receive a Tdap vaccine between the ages of 11-12. Regular boosters are recommended every 10 years to protect those at risk.

 

Click here for an easy-to-use reference guide of recommended vaccines for adolescents and young adults. Discuss any questions with your healthcare provider.

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Meningococcal disease is a rare but severe disease that can cause infections in the brain, spinal cord, and blood and can be fatal. There are multiple serogroups of meningococcal disease and there are multiple vaccines to protect adolescents and young adults from meningococcal disease.

 

The MenACWY vaccine is a two-dose vaccine, with the first dose recommended for ages 11-12 and the second recommended at age 16. 

 

The MenB vaccine is also a two-dose vaccine recommended for ages 16-18. 

 

You may be able to get one dose of the MenABCWY vaccine, approved by the FDA in October 2023, when both MenACWY and MenB vaccines are indicated at the same clinic visit. Talk to your healthcare provider about which vaccine is most appropriate for you.

 

Click here for an easy-to-use reference guide of recommended vaccines for adolescents and young adults. Discuss any questions with your healthcare provider.

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The HPV vaccine protects against infections caused by some types of human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV infection can cause certain types of cancer, including cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancers in women, penile cancer in men and anal cancers in both men and women. The HPV vaccine prevents infection from the HPV types that cause over 90% of these cancers. To learn more, listen to our FACTSinnated podcast on HPV vaccines.

The HPV series can begin for boys and girls at 9 years old. HPV catch-up vaccination is recommended through 26 years of age. 

Click here for an easy-to-use reference guide of recommended vaccines for adolescents and young adults. Discuss any questions with your healthcare provider.

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Flu is a contagious respiratory disease that infects the nose, throat and sometimes the lungs. Its spreads around the U.S every year, usually between October and May. Everyone should get the flu vaccine and people with certain health conditions or a weakened immune system are at the greatest risk of flu complications. Each year thousands of people in the United States die from flu, and many more are hospitalized. Flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related visits to the healthcare provider each year.

 

Click here for an easy-to-use reference guide of recommended vaccines for adolescents and young adults. Discuss any questions with your healthcare provider.

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COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, a coronavirus discovered in 2019. Some people who are infected have mild to severe symptoms that can lead to hospitalization and death. Everyone over 6 months should receive at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.

 

Click here for an easy-to-use reference guide of recommended vaccines for adolescents and young adults. Discuss any questions with your healthcare provider.

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Vaccines are proven to be safe. In the U.S. we have very high vaccine safety standards in place, with a longstanding vaccine safety system that ensures that vaccines are as safe as possible. Vaccines are thoroughly studied through clinical trials which are conducted during the development, testing and approval process. After they are approved, additional studies are conducted to continue monitoring vaccine safety and to look at populations that may have been underrepresented in clinical trials.

 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides a great deal of vaccine safety information on their website. 

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Vaccines work with your body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease. They familiarize your immune system with a specific disease-causing invader, or pathogen. Then your immune system recognizes and makes antibodies to that pathogen to fight the disease if you are infected in the future. Different vaccines do this in different ways by using different forms of the pathogen -- for example, a weakened (attenuated), inactivated, or component of the pathogen.

 

Importantly, vaccines don’t make you sick with the pathogen they’re designed to protect you from. Instead, they give your immune system a practice run at counteracting a weaker, inactivated or partial version of the pathogen.

 

Vaccines allow your body to stop infection before you get sick, or they prevent you from becoming seriously sick if you get infected. See explanations from the Centers for Disese Control (CDC) for more information.

Many doctors' offices, pharmacies, hospitals, and clinics in your neighborhood offer convenient access to recommended vaccines for adolescents and young adults. Contact your healthcare provider for information about getting vaccinated.

State and local health departments are also a great resource for finding out where to get vaccinated. They may also have information about state vaccine requirements and free and low-cost vaccines, including vaccines for travel. Visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) website explore your state health department’s vaccine information.

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Talk to your parents and contact your health care professional to learn about their recommendation for which vaccines you should get. Examples of reliable sources for health information include the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Immunize.org, and the sites of leading research hospitals, such as the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine Education Center and the Cleveland Clinic.

COVID-19 Vaccine Questions

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get an updated COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be safe and effective.

During the pandemic, hundreds of millions of people in the U.S. received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other federal agencies continue to monitor the safety of updated COVID-19 vaccines.

Some people have side effects from COVID-19 vaccines, but for most, the side effects are mild and only last a day or two. These are normal signs that your body is building protection. The commonly reported side effects include arm pain, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, joint pain, chills, fever and nausea.

Ask your healthcare provider (physician, pharmacist, nurse) why it’s right for you to get vaccinated against COVID-19.  Your healthcare provider is knowledgeable and someone you can trust. With so much misinformation about health and vaccination on social media and the internet, it’s important to consult credible sources to help you understand and make decisions about your health. Trust what your healthcare provider is saying, even when it is different from what you read online.  

Don’t forget that there are other recommended vaccines you may need to catch-up on besides the COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your parents and healthcare provider about staying up to date on all vaccines recommended for you.

Examples of reliable sources for health information include the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Immunize.org, and the sites of leading research hospitals, such as the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine Education Center and the Cleveland Clinic.

Many doctors' offices, pharmacies, hospitals, and clinics offer recommended adolescent vaccines including COVID-19 vaccines. Your doctor's office or local pharmacy may contact you with information about vaccination. 

You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other recommended vaccines at the same visit, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

To find a COVID-19 Vaccine, search vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you.

There is no scientific basis or evidence that COVID-19 vaccines cause fertility problems in women or men. Check out this video from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine Education Center for more information about this.

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