Vaccines aren't just for babies

June is Teen Vaccination Month


Is it time for your baby’s 144-month shots? Yes, teenagers need vaccinations too, urge the Immunization Coalition of Summit County and Dr. Susan Shah of Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics in Twinsburg. By receiving proper vaccinations as children grow up they are protected from preventable diseases such as whooping cough, tetanus, meningitis and HPV.

“Children encounter risks for more diseases as they get older,” said Dr. Shah. “The shots they receive as babies are not enough to last them a lifetime.” 

The Coalition – which includes Summit County Public Health, Akron Children’s Hospital and about 35 members from community service groups, hospitals, health department and businesses in the Summit County area – is asking parents to check that their teenagers’ vaccinations are up to date based on gold-standard recommendations by American Academy of Pediatrics, Ohio Department of Health and Center for Disease Controls Immunization Program.

If parents are unsure, they can call their primary care provider or attend a vaccination clinic at one of the many Summit County Public Health sites listed below.

“Keeping teenagers’ immunizations current is important because there are many diseases that we are able to prevent today that we were unable to protect against just 10 years ago,” Dr. Shah said.

Since 2009, the local Coalition has been leading a wide-spread awareness campaign for June as Teen Vaccination Month to help combat the fact that immunization rates for teens (ages 13-17) in Ohio and throughout the United States are far below national goals, according to Wendy Brolly, RN, BSN, a Coalition co-chair and a nurse with Summit County Public Health’s Immunization Action Program.

“The only time it's safe to stop a vaccination is when a disease has been totally wiped out worldwide, as in the case of smallpox,” Brolly said. “We have been working hard to educate and remind parents to vaccinate.”

She recommends parents visit Summit County Public Health’s website ( or the CDC for further details: and

The Coalition encourages parents to speak with a doctor, if they see, hear or read about side effects or downsides of immunization. “It's important to get all of the facts before making a decision to delay or skip an immunization –  a choice that could affect not only your kid’s health but that of others,” said Debbie Clouse, RN, MSN, a Coalition co-chair and clinical manager for Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics.

Additionally, lower disease rates among teens may also lower their chances of passing diseases to the elderly, children and infants. “Protection for one means protection for all,” said Clouse.

Beyond the United States
According to Dr. Marguerite A. Erme, medical director of Summit County Public Health, although the United States has relatively low numbers of vaccine preventable diseases, teens may be exposed when traveling to other countries or from visitors from other countries where these diseases are more common and the vaccination rates are not as high. 

“Many people look at the low numbers in the United States and feel the risk is not high for their children to get vaccinations,” she said. “Outbreaks of measles and mumps in the United States have typically started with an imported case.”  

Where to Go
If your pediatrician or primary care physician does not offer vaccines, check with your local health department. Summit County Public Health offers the below vaccination clinics:

What’s Recommended & Required for Teenagers


Vaccination Name

Protects against

Shot Series / Ages

Mandated by School

A Gold-Standard Recommended Vaccine

Did You Know?

Meningococcal conjugate vaccine


Meningitis: a bacterial infection that poses a serious threat to teens.  

Meningitis can kill a healthy person in 48 hours or less. Survivors of meningitis have problems that last the rest of their lives. 

age 11-12 with booster at age 16




age 13-15 with booster at age 16-18

Many colleges mandate Menactra vaccine for freshman entry


Previously unvaccinated college freshmen who will be living in a dormitory setting and those entering the military should receive a single dose.



3 diseases that are all caused by bacteria 

Tetanus: enters the body through cuts, scratches or wounds. 

Diphtheria: affects the mucous membranes of the nose and throat. 

Pertussis (whooping cough): this disease is spread by coughing and sneezing. Anyone can catch pertussis and spread it to others. 

ages 11 or 12





Seventh grade school mandate


Protection provided by the DTaP vaccine received in childhood wears off as kids get older, so preteens and teens need a booster shot known as Tdap.


HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)


now for males
& females



Cervical cancer and Genital warts

 3 shot series over 6 months.

Recommended age 11-12 years, may catch up to age 26 years. The second shot is given 1 or 2 months after the first, and the third shot is given 6 months after the first shot.


Some may require and ask  to report if vaccine was given



It is ideal to complete all of the shots before sexual activity begins, in order to be fully protected.




two doses recommended



this disease causes fever and rash.  In rare cases it can cause serious health problems.


Older kids under the age of 13 years who have not had chickenpox may also receive the vaccine, with the two doses given at least 3 months apart.

All children need 2 doses unless they have documented evidence of having  the disease. 


Kindergarten-2nd grade: two dose mandate


Grade 3-6: one dose mandate






Annual; every one  
6 months of age and older


Some may require and ask  to report if vaccine given




Hepatitis A: to protect against food-born illnesses.

two doses to complete series

Some may require and ask  to report if vaccine given




Hepatitis B: can lead to liver cancer/ failure and death.

three doses to complete series

Yes Kindergarten-12th grade mandate



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Is it time for your baby's 144-month shots? Yes, teenagers need vaccinations too.

Media Contact

Leslee Dennis