Vaccines

Note: If you plan to travel in Asia, Africa or South America, please consult your doctor for vaccines that you should do in advance.

Although not completely without side effects, vaccines save and improve lives. Here are the most important, in age order:

Children vaccines

Ideally, by the time your child starts kindergarten they will have received:

  • hepatitis A & B vaccinations
  • diphtheria vaccine
  • tetanus vaccine
  • acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine
  • haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine (Hib)
  • pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)
  • inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV)
  • measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine
  • varicella (chickenpox) vaccine

Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR)

If you didn’t have this infection or vaccine yet, get vaccinated. If you don’t remember, get tested for antibodies.

Frequency: once in a lifetime

Varicella (Chickenpox)

If you didn’t have this infection or vaccine yet, get vaccinated. If you don’t remember, get tested for antibodies.

Frequency: once in a lifetime

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is highly contagious. It is usually transmitted by the fecal-oral route, either through person-to-person contact or consumption of contaminated food or water. Read more

Frequency: once in a lifetime (protective levels of antibody is present for at least 25 years)

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is transmitted by blood, semen, or another body fluid. Read more

Frequency: once in a lifetime

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

A common virus that is passed through genital contact. Health problems related to HPV include genital warts and cervical cancer. All children ages 11 or 12 years should get vaccinated. Catch-up vaccines are recommended for males through age 21 and for females through age 26, if they did not get vaccinated when they were younger.

Read more

Pneumococcal Disease

Pneumococcal infections can range from ear and sinus infections to pneumonia and bloodstream infections. It spreads by direct contact with respiratory secretions, like saliva or mucus. Read more

Frequency: once in a lifetime (some doctors recommend a 2nd shot 10 years after the 1st)

Tdap Booster

Tdap boosters are combination booster shots that protect adults from diphtheria (a serious infection of the nose and throat), tetanus (a bacterial disease that attacks the body’s nervous system), and pertussis (called whooping cough, which is a very contagious infection of the respiratory system).

Frequency: once in a lifetime. Women should get the Tdap vaccine each time they are pregnant.

Minimum age: 11 years

Flu (Influenza)

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and can lead to hospitalization and death.

Frequency: every year, before flu season

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Notes

Vaccines considered, but excluded from recommendations: