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Measles outbreak sparks increase in vaccination among children, teens

The recent measles outbreak has made the headlines in recent weeks, driving many parents who had chosen not to vaccine their children to reconsider their decision and get them vaccinated. Even teenagers who weren’t vaccinated as children are seeking information and taking steps to get themselves vaccinated.

For parents of teens, it can be tough to know or remember when or if their teen is due for another vaccine, especially if their teen has not been to the doctor recently. Knowledge gaps in adolescent vaccination recommendations is understandable, as the US immunization schedule has undergone numerous changes in the last 10-15 years. Certain adolescent vaccines require more than one dose, and parents might not be aware that their teen hasn’t received the full dose.

A 2017 Mott Poll report found that many parents are not keeping up with their teen’s vaccinations. Among parents of teens age 13-17:

  • Most parents thought their teen had received all recommended vaccines, despite national data suggesting otherwise
  • Over one-third of parents did not know when or if their teen was due for another vaccine
  • Parents expected child health providers to guide them on teen vaccines, by scheduling appointments or sending reminders

Timing of teen's next vaccine: Sooner, later, never?

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The CDC recommends that the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps & rubella) be administered to children in two doses, one between 12 and 15 months old, and the other when they are between 4 and 6 years old. For more information, visit cdc.gov.