One of the best ways to keep yourself or your child healthy is to prevent illness whenever possible. Vaccinations are one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of many potentially harmful diseases.
How Do Vaccines Work?
Vaccines reduce your or your loved one’s risk of infection by helping the body safely develop immunity to diseases without getting sick. Learn more about how vaccines work in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Parents Guide to Childhood Immunizations [PDF].
Visit our health library to learn more about the benefits of immunization.
Prevent Influenza with a Flu Shot
Protect your and your family’s health during flu season with a yearly flu vaccine. The vaccine protects against the three or four influenza viruses that are expected to be most common this year. Depending on your age and medical condition, you may be able to choose from a flu shot or a nasal spray vaccine. Ask your primary care provider about the best option for you.
Visit our health library to learn more about your choices for the flu vaccine.
Immunization Schedules for Children
When your children receive vaccines at the recommended times, they safely gain protection against potentially life-threatening diseases early in life. See the recommended immunization schedule for children ages:
Nearly all children can be safely vaccinated. If your child has a weakened immune system or you are concerned that your child may be allergic to something in the vaccine, talk to your child’s primary care provider.
If your child has fallen behind on recommended immunizations, talk to your child’s primary care provider about a catch-up schedule to get your child’s vaccinations up-to-date.
Immunization Schedules for Adults
Adults benefit from vaccines, too. You may need a vaccine as an adult if you:
- Weren’t fully vaccinated as a child
- Are no longer protected by the vaccine you received as a child—for example, tetanus shots are recommended every 10 years
- Haven’t received newer vaccines, such as the HPV vaccine
- Need a vaccine that’s recommended only for adults—for example, vaccines that protect against shingles or pneumonia
- Are travelling to another country where you may be exposed to diseases like yellow fever or typhoid
- Work in certain industries, such as health care
- Have certain health conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, or are pregnant
See the recommended immunizations for adults by age and by health condition.
Complete Vaccine Information
Find current Vaccine Information Statements (VIS) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in our health library. Each VIS explains the benefits and risks of a vaccine, what to do if you or your child experiences a reaction to the vaccine, and more.