I'm a junior in high school and I want to be a nurse....but I've never been vaccinated. What can I do?

by sasha91 sasha91 (New) New Pre-Student

BEFORE YOU RESPOND: I don't need your negative comments. I asked a question, I'm asking for answers. I've looked for answers but came here as a last-ditch effort. I'm willing to get the mandatory vaccinations in order to go to nursing school and do clinicals etc. Google hasn't been awfully helpful.. if you know anything, I'd love your input. Thank you!

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience. 67 Articles; 14,008 Posts

Oh dear! When you post a question on the internet, you get the comments and the answers you get. It's a given that you won't like all of them. But you are certainly getting off on the wrong foot with the admonishment that you don't wish to see "negative comments." In other words, you don't want comments you won't like. Sometimes the comments we don't like are the most helpful.

Yes, you'll have to get the mandatory vaccinations. A good place to start is with your primary care provider. Unfortunately, I don't know for sure what vaccinations you need -- perhaps some primary care NPs do know. And I don't know where you're located or whether you are old enough (16? 17?) to be vaccinated without a parent's permission. I'm assuming that since you're posting on the internet, your parents wouldn't be amenable to you getting vaccinated?

When you are 18, you will be an adult, and you'll be able to be vaccinated without parental permission, perhaps even covered by their insurance plan. Student Health at your college may be able to vaccinate you at a nominal cost. Again, I don't know for sure, but it is worth considering. The schools to which you apply will be able to tell you which vaccinations you'll need and when you'll need them.

Are your parents aware of your desire to be a nurse? If they are aware, and you explain to them the necessity of vaccinations in order to attend nursing school, clinical, etc., they will be willing to support you in getting vaccinated. It is a possibility that may be worth exploring, but you know your parents better than I do.

I commend you on knowing what you want to do at your young age, and I sincerely hope you are able to achieve your goal. We need smart, proactive nurses.

vanilla bean

861 Posts

I can't imagine that it would be a problem that you haven't been vaccinated before as long as you're willing to receive the vaccines required by the nursing program you choose. Perhaps you can investigate some of the nursing programs you're interested in applying to and find out which vaccines they require and get started from there.

As Ruby Vee mentioned, if your parent(s) is/are on board, you can get started or you may have to wait until you're an adult and able to consent to your own medical care without parental consent.

nursej22, MSN, RN

Specializes in Public Health, TB. Has 37 years experience. 2,599 Posts

Healthcare workers are recommended to be vaccinated for Hepatitis B (series of 3 shots), tetanus (3 shots if you've never had any), MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) 2 doses, and chicken pox, 2 doses. Some schools and clinical sites may also require an annual flu shot.

Most of these can be completed in 6 months, but many schools will let you start, conditional on completing the series before clinicals begin.

As a young woman nearing child-bearing age, I highly recommend getting an MMR before pregnancy. Also, there are several measles outbreaks currently, and mumps pops up from time to time.

Good luck on your studies.


Specializes in MA. 7 Posts

Depending on the state you live in, the state government may cover your vaccination costs. Even if you don't have private health insurance, government-funded insurance, such as Medicaid will cover the costs of vaccination. Also get your HPV shot, I was your age not too long ago. Finally, if you've already caught one of the diseases, such as Chicken Pox, (Polio would kill you) you'll not be required to be vaccinated.

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 30 years experience. 2,776 Posts

There are official "catch up" schedules for unvaccinated people. In addition to that, you can be tested for titres. (Proof that you actually had any of the diseases; if you have you won't need those vaccinations.)

Re: your snarky opening line. You (a non-nurse minor) signed into a nursing forum to ask adults for help. Drop the attitude.

psu_213, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Telemetry, Transplant. Has 13 years experience. 3,878 Posts

16 hours ago, nursej22 said:

Healthcare workers are recommended to be vaccinated for....chicken pox

Of course many of use earned our antibodies the old fashioned way for that one. ?

nursej22, MSN, RN

Specializes in Public Health, TB. Has 37 years experience. 2,599 Posts

5 hours ago, psu_213 said:

Of course many of use earned our antibodies the old fashioned way for that one. ?

True, But then again, I have seen patients end up intubated because they were not exposed to varicella until they were adults. In my area, there are a fair amount of adults without immunity, including women of child-bearing years.



Bloop41, BSN, RN

Specializes in Stroke Care - Med/Surg. Has 6 years experience. 44 Posts

Hey! I'm currently a pediatric MA and have seen patients like you several times at my clinic: unvaccinated during childhood, but need shots for nursing or other healthcare college programs. You may not be able to get your shots until you're 18; but most providers would have a catch up schedule (linked here at the CDC). Nursing schools are most likely to care about Hep B, TDap, MMR and the seasonal flu shot, so I'd start those first. Good luck!



9 Posts

You should be fine as long as you get vaccinations soon. Depending on where you live you might not be able to go to college for any degree without vaccinations. My state college required proof of immunizations to be able to register for classes. Without immunizations my college does not allow you to be an on-campus student. Looking around, it looks like most state and private colleges follow the same rule. Try talking to your parents about your desire to be a nurse. Also, if there's a specific college you have in mind research that college's policies regarding immunizations. Odds are if you can't even go to college without immunizations your parents will allow you to get them.


Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 45 years experience. 11 Articles; 17,389 Posts

Catchup Immunization Schedule for Children and Adolescents - AAFP

Your school nurse/high school guidance counselor may be of assistance to you -please let them know of your plans for nursing education and desire for vacinations.. If your parents are not supportive/unable to use health insurance, contact your county/state department of health; They can assist in providing vaccinations for free.

Please feel free to use allnurses as resource to understanding nursing profession and requirements forgetting into college's nursing programs.

BrisketRN, BSN, RN

Has 4 years experience. 915 Posts

To add to the above, I went to nursing school with a girl who was not vaccinated until she was 18. She started vaccines freshman year and was up-to-date by junior year when we began clinicals. You should be just fine as long as you follow the Catch Up immunization guidelines.