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Vaccination for College Student

What Vaccinations Are Recommended for College Students and Young Adults?

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According to the federal government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most children should be immunized with 14 different vaccinations by the age of 18. But immunization doesn’t stop there. In fact, there are certain vaccines that are specifically recommended for young adults and college students between the ages of 19 and 24. Some states even require students entering colleges and universities to be vaccinated against meningitis and other diseases, due to the increased risk that accompanies living in residential housing.

Here are some of the most common vaccines recommended for college students and young adults by groups such as the CDC, as well as various colleges and universities across the U.S.

HPV Vaccine

The HPV (human papillomavirus vaccine) is currently recommended by the CDC for women 26 years or younger and men 21 years or younger who weren’t inoculated as preteens/teens. The HPV vaccine protects against multiple types of HPV, which are responsible for 70 percent of cervical cancers and 90 percent of genital warts.

Meningococcal Vaccine

The meningococcal conjugate vaccine protects against bacterial meningitis and is the vaccine most likely to be required for college freshmen or other students living in a dorm. This is because freshmen living in dorms have a higher rate of this disease than any other population in the United States, due to common lifestyle factors in this group that include living in crowded dormitories and a tendency to share personal items.

Tdap Vaccine

If you didn’t receive this vaccine as a teenager, this is a good immunization to get before you head off to college, says the CDC. The Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough), and a subsequent booster of this vaccine is actually required every 10 years throughout adulthood.

Flu Vaccine

College is expensive, and it’s easy to fall behind if you get sick, especially with a lengthy illness like the flu, which is why an annual flu shot is recommended for members of this age group. Flu can spread quickly across a campus and can be particularly dangerous for those with preexisting conditions such as diabetes and asthma.

Other Possible Vaccine Recommendations

Depending on a person’s childhood immunization history, there are other vaccines that young adults may need to protect them while living on a college campus. Common vaccines and boosters required in this age group include those that protect against pneumococcal disease, hepatitis B, hepatitis A, chickenpox (varicella), and measles, mumps, and rubella. Review your history with your doctor to determine if and where there are gaps. In addition, if you are leaving the country to study abroad or travel, it’s important to check with your doctor to see if there are any additional recommended vaccines.


Keep in mind that nothing in this article is intended to be medical advice. Consult your doctor before making any health decisions for you or your child.

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