Vaccinate Before You Graduate

High School Graduation Also Means Updating Vaccinations

High school graduation is an exciting time for both parents and teenagers. When planning for the future and the new adventures on the horizon—whether that means college, moving into an apartment or traveling the world—it’s important to also plan to update a teenager’s immunizations. High school, college, work, travel, and sports can expose a teen to new risks, and the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC) offers assistance for teens to update their vaccines until their 19th birthday. If a parent or guardian is underinsured or doesn’t have insurance, the VFC program is available to help get a teen’s immunizations up-to-date… before heading out into the real world.

What you need to know

A teen could miss out on life

In many places, people cannot attend college, go to summer camp, or even work if their shots are not up to date.

A teen could get sick…even end up in the hospital

We all develop risks for more diseases as we get older. And those with a chronic medical condition like asthma or diabetes can have serious problems if they contract a vaccine-preventable disease.

If a teenager was vaccinated as a baby and during grade school, why do they need to do it again?

Protection from childhood vaccinations may wear off. We are all at higher risk for some diseases as we get older. It is important to keep immunizations up-to-date throughout the lifespan.

How can I know if a teenager’s shots are up to date?

Ask a healthcare provider. If you need a copy of your record to attend school or participate in sports, your healthcare provider or school nurse can provide one, or you can access them yourself through the

What if the teenager is not sure if they have been vaccinated. Is it safe to get an extra dose?

For many vaccines it is okay to get an extra vaccine dose, especially if it means keeping your child’s protection up-to-date. If you are not sure about what shots had been given, be sure to tell a healthcare provider.

What if a teenager has a medical condition like asthma or diabetes, is it safe to get vaccinated?

Vaccinations can be even more important if a teenager has certain medical conditions. A healthcare provider can tell you which vaccinations are right. If you don’t have a provider, click here to locate a VFC provider near you.

If many serious childhood diseases have been wiped out and everyone else is vaccinated, why do we still need to be vaccinations?

Some diseases may have disappeared, but the bacteria and viruses that cause them still exist. Many of them pass easily from person to person. For example, measles, mumps, whooping cough, and chickenpox are all spread by coughing or sneezing and the United States is seeing outbreaks of these diseases across the country.