Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines on our webpage!
Find general information on COVID-19 vaccines or specific guidance for COVID-19 vaccinators on our vaccine webpage!
Adults need vaccines, too! Adults need to keep their vaccines up to date because immunity from vaccines can wear off over time. As you grow older, you are also at risk for different diseases that can be prevented by vaccines. This page has information about adult vaccines and schedules, and health care provider materials.
This year, it is especially important that we prevent illnesses and hospitalizations from diseases that we do have vaccines for. By making sure we stay on top of our vaccinations, we can keep ourselves healthy and support health care workers as they fight COVID-19 by keeping more people out of hospitals. We don’t have the time or the resources to waste by getting sick from diseases we could have prevented. The best part? By getting vaccinated, you can prevent spreading certain diseases to your friends and family.
All adults need:
- Influenza (flu) vaccine every year
- Td or Tdap vaccine to prevent tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough
You may need other vaccines based on your age, health conditions, job, lifestyle, or travel habits. Learn more about what other vaccines may be recommended for you and talk to your health care professional about which vaccines are right for you.
I am an adult with questions like...
Where can I check my vaccine record?
Look up your immunization record on the Wisconsin Immunization Registry (WIR). You can also use the Adult Vaccine Self-Assessment Tool to find out which additional vaccines you may need. Take your customized printout to your next medical appointment.
Or call your current or previous doctors and ask them to check which vaccinations you may still need.
Where can I get vaccinated?
- If you have health insurance, call your doctor or pharmacist to find out where you can get your vaccine.
- If you don’t have health insurance, check-out vaccinefinder.gov to find a vaccine location near you. Be sure to call ahead to verify any costs.
- And if cost is a concern, you might be eligible for the Vaccines for Adults program. See below for more information.
How much do vaccines cost?
Most private health insurance plans cover vaccines at no additional cost to you. Check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guide to see which vaccines are typically covered for people with private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and Military insurance (TRICARE). You can also call your insurance provider and ask which vaccines are covered under your plan.
If you do not have insurance and cost is a concern for you, you may be eligible for the Vaccines for Adults program (VFA). Some vaccine locations have lower cost or free options. Please use the Vaccine Finder to find a vaccine location near you and call ahead to ask about the cost of the vaccine.
What is the Vaccines for Adults program?
The Vaccines for Adults program (VFA) is a new program to help uninsured and underinsured adults get their vaccinations.
Who is eligible?
Adults 19 and older who are uninsured or underinsured are eligible. There are other eligibility criteria that are vaccine-specific and not all VFA-enrolled sites stock all of the vaccines that adults need.
Will the vaccines be free?
Vaccines are free for eligible adults through the VFA program. Participating providers can charge a vaccine administration fee but cannot turn clients away if they are unable pay.
Where can I find a doctor's office near me that is a part of the VFA program?
Most local and tribal health departments are VFA providers. Find contact information for your local health department here.
You can also use Vaccine Finder to find a general vaccine location near you and call ahead to ask them whether they are enrolled in the Vaccines for Adults program.
Are vaccines safe?
Although there may be risks with any medical product, vaccines are some of the safest medical products available and are the best defense against dangerous, sometimes deadly diseases. The CDC keeps a list of frequently asked vaccine safety questions and other vaccine safety information for parents.
What are vaccine side effects? The most common vaccine side effects include soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site. Sometimes a low-grade fever will happen after vaccination.
Why do some vaccines have additives in them? Vaccine ingredients help make the vaccines work better. For example, thimerosal is added to some vaccines to keep bacteria and fungus from contaminating the vial. Thimerosal leaves the body quickly so it does not build up to harmful levels. The CDC has additional information about vaccine ingredients on their website.
How are vaccines monitored for safety? You can take a look at the journey your child's vaccine takes even before it is on the market (it is the same process for adult vaccines). Once a vaccine is available, it is monitored by the CDC and the FDA through:
I don't like needles, what options do I have?
Certain vaccines can be given without needles, such as nasal spray vaccines. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about your options.
There are several other ways to make vaccination more pleasant for people who are scared of needles. Sugar, deep breaths and topical anesthetics are some things that have helped reduce pain and made vaccination less stressful. Check out CDC’s tips and tricks for making immunizations easier and less stressful.
I am a health care provider looking for information about....
Adult vaccination guidelines
This year, it is more important than ever to have high vaccination rates. Because providers and all health care professionals (HCPs) are trusted by people, you play a role in protecting patients against these preventable diseases. Please share this information and the CDC's adult vaccination resources widely so we can improve vaccination rates and keep our communities healthy.
For proactive vaccination and to reduce missed opportunities of vaccination, make sure to review your adult vaccination workflow for before, during, and after patient visits. Below are key guidelines and resources for vaccinating adults.
- Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) vaccine recommendations and guidelines
- CDC standards for adult immunization practice, which include guidance ranging from needs assessment to vaccine administration to vaccine documentation
- Immunization Action Coalition's step-by-step guide for vaccinating adults
- CDC preparedness guidance and checklists for managing operations during the COVID-19 pandemic
- CDC health care provider vaccine website with information ranging from storage and handling to patient education, including COVID-19 vaccination resources
The adult immunization schedule, medical indication schedule, and catch-up vaccination schedule are approved by CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Academy of Family Practitioners (AAFP), and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). You can download the schedule app for health care providers to view up-to-date immunization schedules on your smart phone, tablet, or computer. The application will reflect immunization schedule changes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vaccination logistics and resources
- New CDC job aid (11/16/20): Intramuscular vaccine administration for adults 19 and older
- Vaccine administration toolkit
- Dose, route, site, and needle size
- Contraindications and precautions
Federal law requires that a parent or guardian be given a vaccine information statement (VIS) prior to every dose of vaccine. The Immunization Action Coalition provides VISs in multiple languages. The Immunization Program is working to update the disease fact sheets, which can be used along with (not to replace) the VISs.
Storage and Handling
- Storage and handling toolkit
- Maintaining the cold chain for vaccines
Posters and Handouts
- You can print handouts on specific diseases and vaccination procedures from the Immunization Action Coalition.
- Indian Health Services (IHS) and the CDC have created handouts and posters for American Indian and Alaska Native populations.
- Find and share 2020-2021 influenza-specific resources from the CDCand the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS).
Let's Vaccinate has compiled additional resources around vaccine administration and other best practices and recommendations.
Patient education and outreach
Strong Vaccine Recommendations
Your trusted voice can make all the difference in increasing vaccination rates, especially when you share your personal connection to vaccinations.
- Learn how to make strong vaccine recommendations.
- Use the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ CASE method to make the CASE for vaccination.
- Share the importance of routine immunizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Check out the handouts and videos in CDC's compilation of Provider Resources for Vaccine Conversations with Parents.
- Follow this tested conversation guide for challenging conversations with parents.
Posters, Infographics, and Fact sheets
- Find various CDC adult vaccine information resources (fact sheets, web tools, videos, and podcasts) and patient education resources (fact sheets, fliers, Q&A, and tips).
- Display posters with three important reasons for adults to get vaccinated in English and Spanish.
- Share fact sheets on vaccines adults may need in English and Spanish.
Social Media Posts
This flu season, it is more important than ever that everyone over the age of 6 months get vaccinated against the flu. By reducing flu illness, medical visits, and hospitalizations, we can preserve health care resources for those who are sick with COVID-19.
- Share sample influenza messages from CDC, Families Fighting Flu, and DHS on your social media platforms.
- Please also share which free or lower-cost vaccine programs your organization has for uninsured and underinsured patients.
- We will update this webpage with COVID-19-vaccine-related social media messages when we develop them.
Appointment Reminder Templates
- Create reminder/recall notices through the Wisconsin Immunization Registry to set up call, text, and email reminders to help your patients stay on top of their vaccinations.
- Customize the Association of Immunization Manager’s immunization postcards to remind your patients that they can call you to make appointments, and to let them know that you have COVID-related safety precautions in place to provide vaccinations safely.
- Send CDC’s flu email template to remind your patients to schedule appointments for their influenza vaccines.
Add buttons and widgets, like a Vaccine Finder (above), to your website to help patients find vaccines and get vaccinated.
Vaccine-preventable disease reading and training
Trainings from the CDC
Trainings from The Indiana Immunization Coalition
You can earn CE credits by watching the documentary Someone You Love: The HPV Epidemic. The film follows five women as they deal with cervical cancer.
Wisconsin Vaccines for Adults (VFA) program
The Wisconsin Vaccines for Adults (VFA) program is quite new. At first, we just partnered with local and tribal health departments, but we have recently allowed other organizations to administer late-season influenza vaccine through the VFA program. Unfortunately, new sites cannot order other adult vaccines.
Please look at the VFA question in the above section for a general overview of the program.
Frequently Asked Questions about VFA Late-Season Influenza Vaccine
Ordering Vaccine in WIR
- How do we order VFA late-season influenza vaccine to administer to adults?
The vaccine you requested during summer was ordered on your behalf. There is no need to place an order in WIR.
- Is it recommended that we keep “state-supplied” and “private” vaccine stocks separate?
Yes, it is recommended that clinics maintain separate state-supplied and private vaccine stocks.
- Do we need to screen for state-supplied vaccine eligibility when administering late-season influenza vaccine?
Late-season influenza vaccine should be prioritized for uninsured adults but may be given to anyone who presents for vaccination, especially if in a high-risk group.
- How is vaccine eligibility documented in WIR?
Dose level eligibility should be documented as “No Insurance” for vaccines administered to eligible adults.
- Which elements should be sent via data exchange for late-season influenza vaccine doses administered among adults?
Date, dose, route, site, lot number, trade name, manufacturer, VIS date, VIS given to patient confirmation, and funding source.
- What should we do with surplus late-season influenza vaccine?
Any remaining late-season influenza vaccine should be returned to McKesson after the vaccine expires.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on health care resources, it is important to have high influenza vaccine coverage in all counties this season. We encourage immunization partners to exhaust their influenza vaccine supply in order to reduce influenza-related morbidity and mortality and reduce the burden on the health care system.
- Can we bill patients for a vaccine administration fee?
It is recommended that providers reduce any financial barriers to the administration of this vaccine, and that people not be turned away for an inability to pay. While administration fees are allowable, it is recommended that any administration fee is capped at the maximum fee allowable for the administration of Vaccines for Children (VFC) vaccine.
Wisconsin Immunization Quality Improvement (IQIP) program
See the following website for more information about and how to participate in the Immunization Quality Improvement for Providers (IQIP) program.
You can improve your vaccination rates by:
- Reviewing quality improvement of immunization practices to reduce missed opportunities in many ways including vaccinating at every opportunity and engaging in proactive scheduling.
- Using the Wisconsin Immunization Registry (WIR) to forecast upcoming vaccines for the same day appointment or an upcoming appointment and send patients reminder or recall notices.
- Implementing standing orders in your office.
- Examining the existence of any physical and system-based barriers to vaccination at your office.
- Exploring more resources for increasing vaccination rates for specific populations.
- Sharing these provider education resources with your entire office.
- Checking out CDC’s quality improvement projects ideas and resources.
Reporting a vaccine-preventable disease
If you need to report a vaccine-preventable disease, visit our Vaccine-Preventable Diseases webpage, select the appropriate disease, then click on the tab that says "information for health care professionals."
Have more questions? Contact us!
Wisconsin Immunization Program staff | Wisconsin's local health departments - Regional offices - Tribal agencies