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Vaccination Nation: Protect Yourself and Your Family From Serious Diseases

May 26, 2017

Since their introduction, vaccines have saved millions of lives and reduced the impact of serious diseases. Vaccine-preventable diseases are still here and can be passed on to the un-protected. It’s important for all age groups, and especially parents of young children, to understand the details about why and when to get vaccines for themselves and their families.

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Vaccination Nation: Protect Yourself and Your Family From Serious Diseases

Since vaccines became widely available in the 1920s, they’ve played an important role in the prevention of disease. They have saved millions of lives over the years and prevented or lessened the effect of diseases in both children and adults.

Vaccinations by Age

Ages 0-6: In the United States, routine vaccines are recommended in children between ages 0 and 6 years to prevent a number of serious or even deadly diseases.

The recommended schedule is available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and includes at least 10 different vaccines: Hepatitis B, DTaP, Polio, Rotavirus, HiB, Pneumococcal, Influenza, MMR, Chicken Pox or Varicella and Hepatitis A. Infants at higher risk may require two additional vaccines.

Ages 6-18: Tdap, HPV, Meningococcal conjugate, annual flu, boosters at age 16

Ages 19-24: Annual flu, HPV, Meningococcal conjugate, Tdap* (*Tdap = Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis or whooping cough vaccine)

Ages 25-64: Annual flu, Tdap booster*

Ages 65 & up: Annual flu, shingles (herpes zoster), Tdap*, pneumonia

Baby Bump? Avoid the Mumps
Before getting pregnant, make sure you’re up to date on the MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) vaccination.
  • During pregnancy, it’s important to get flu and Tdap vaccinations.
  • After the birth of your baby, if you haven’t received your Tdap shot you should be vaccinated right away. If you’re not immune to measles, mumps and rubella and/or varicella (chickenpox), get vaccinated before leaving the hospital.
Facts About Vaccs
  • Booster shots offer continued immunity by building on the effectiveness of the previous vaccine, so it’s important parents don’t skip the recommended vaccinations.
  • “Herd immunity” is the benefit that everyone in the population receives when enough people are vaccinated, creating a safer environment for those who are too young or too sick to receive the vaccinations.
  • Most childhood vaccinations are 90 to 99 percent effective in preventing disease.
  • Side effects from vaccinations are very rarely serious.
  • Why is HPV (human papilloma virus) recommended? *See footnote
FYI: For Your Immunization

Some people should not get certain vaccines or should wait before getting them for reasons including age and health conditions, so always check with your doctor before getting shots.

If your child has been ill, you need to read the guidelines for the upcoming vaccinations and ask questions before allowing your child to get vaccinated.

No U.S. federal laws mandate vaccination, but all 50 states require certain vaccinations for children entering public schools.

If your child misses a shot, you don’t need to start over, just go back to your child’s doctor for the next shot.

Immunizations require at least 14 days before travel to be effective, so plan ahead!

SOURCES: American Academy of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt Travel Clinic, Centers for Disease Control, National Network for Immunization Information,,

*Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — The United States Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends the bivalent, quadrivalent, or 9-valent HPV vaccine for females aged 11 to 12 for the prevention of cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancer and the related precursor lesions caused by the HPV types targeted by these vaccines- (UpToDate).

These vaccines can be administered to females as young as age nine. Catch-up vaccination is also recommended for females aged 13 to 26 years who have not been previously vaccinated or who have not completed their vaccine series.

ACIP also recommends the routine use of quadrivalent or 9-valent HPV vaccine in males aged 11 or 12 years. The vaccination series can be administered to individuals as young as nine years. Vaccination is also recommended for males aged 13 to 21 years who have not been vaccinated previously or who have not completed the three-dose series.