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Beware Spring Fever? Vaccines for Teens and Tweens

Beware Spring Fever? Vaccines for Teens and Tweens

As we enter the spring season, the sunlight warms up our world and the birds and the bees re-emerge, giving many people a burst of positivity and a restless desire to get outside and mingle after a long winter.

For teens and tweens who may be spending time in large groups for school, or exploring new relationships, staying healthy is especially important. Several potentially serious illnesses – such as invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) and human papilloma virus (HPV) – may be spread by close contact with others who may not even realize they have these infections. That’s why it’s so important to keep up on vaccines, as children leave routine school vaccination programs behind.

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted virus. The symptoms and effects of infection vary depending on the type of HPV involved. Some types may not cause any symptoms, and go away over time. When it persists, HPV can cause genital warts, or cell changes that lead to cervical cancer or cancers of the throat, mouth, penis, anus, vagina or external female genitalia. 1

Along with practicing safe sex, vaccination is up to 90% effective in preventing types of HPV known to cause most of these cancers and warts. Both girls and boys should receive the HPV vaccine series at age 11 or 12, before they’re exposed to the virus. It is also recommended for teens and adults who are not fully vaccinated. 2


Meningitis is an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord lining. Invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) can be caused by several strains of the N. meningitidis bacteria: A, B, C, W and Y. It is spread by contact with respiratory secretions or saliva, for instance through kissing, sharing food or drinks, coughing or sneezing.

 IMD can develop rapidly within a few days, beginning with a fever, flu-like symptoms, light sensitivity, and a distinctive red rash. Without prompt antibiotic treatment, IMD can cause blindness, deafness, paralysis, intellectual disability or death in a matter of hours or days. 3

Youth between the ages of 15 to 24 are at high risk for IMD, and they are more likely to be asymptomatic carriers of the N. meningitidis bacteria. This makes immune protection through vaccination especially valuable. Meningitis vaccination is recommended routinely for kids at 12 years of age, or during early adolescence, even for those who received the vaccination as young children.

Perhaps thanks to the introduction of routine childhood immunization with Group C conjugate vaccine almost 20 years ago, group C infections decreased by about 90% between 2001 and 2011. Since 2007, group B infections have accounted for about 60% of cases, the Public Health Agency of Canada says.

Many people are not aware that our usual meningitis vaccinations do not protect against infections caused by serogroup B. Although they are not covered under all routine vaccination programs, we have two vaccines against group B meningitis, Bexsero and Trumenba®.4 Ask your doctor what’s right for your family.

Are your kids’ other vaccinations up to date?

In addition to vaccination against HPV and meningitis, routine vaccinations against the following diseases are recommended for teens and tweens: 5

  • COVID-19
  • Diphtheria
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Tetanus
  • Whooping cough (pertussis)

Help your teens and tweens stay safe – make sure they have all the vaccinations they need. Check out Health Canada’s Teen's Guide to Vaccination.

Brought to you by Vaccines411.ca – know where to go for your vaccinations.

This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

Read more Vaccines411® Articles


Note: the hyperlinks that direct to other sites are not continuously updated. It is possible that some links become untraceable over time. Thank you.

  1. Signs and Symptoms
  2. Prevention
  3. Meningococcal vaccines: Canadian Immunization Guide
  4. NACI update on invasive meningococcal disease epidemiology and prevention
  5. A Teen’s Guide to Vaccination