Why vaccinate? Vaccination is one of the best ways parents can protect babies, children, and teens from dangerous diseases. Vaccine preventable diseases can be very serious, even deadly, especially for young children. You can look up your child's record through the Wisconsin Immunization Registry. This page has information for parents about childhood and adolescent vaccines, and health care provider materials.
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Vaccines for babies and children
Babies ages 0-24 months need vaccines to protect against illnesses such as hepatitis B, chickenpox, whooping cough, measles, and many more. Older children also need vaccines to help protect them from getting sick at school. Every year in the early fall, everyone six months of age and older needs an annual influenza vaccination.
How can I make my baby more comfortable while they are getting vaccinated? You can learn about simple ways to make vaccines less stressful. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a list of tips called 9 tips to make shots less stressful.
What is the vaccine schedule? The recommended vaccine schedule is designed to keep infants and young children healthy. The CDC has created a schedule specifically for parents in English and Spanish. There is also an interactive vaccine schedule that will tell you which vaccines are needed based on your child's age. A more detailed schedule can be found on the CDC website.
Moms-to-be can sign up for Text4Baby, a free mobile texting service that can help keep track of information, including vaccine schedules, and appointments to help care for themselves and their babies.
What diseases will the vaccines prevent? The non-profit organization Every Child By Two recently launched an interactive vaccination eBook about the diseases that vaccines prevent. Click on the disease that you would like to learn more about. The CDC also created a parent-friendly guide to childhood vaccines and the diseases they prevent.
What is community immunity (also called herd immunity)? Community immunity is when an entire group or community is protected from a disease. The more people who are immune from a disease, the less chance there is for the disease spread, thereby protecting the whole group or community.
Are vaccines covered by my insurance? You can learn about the Wisconsin Vaccines for Children program, which covers the cost of vaccines for eligible children. The national non-for-profit organization Every Child By Two has resources available for parents who are concerned about the cost of vaccines.
Which vaccines are required for school entry in Wisconsin? According to Wisconsin State Law, certain vaccines are required for both day care and school entry. For the 2017-2018 school year, you can find the required school vaccines, as well as additional details, on page 17 of the School Booklet.
Have more questions? Vaccinate Your Family, a program from Every Child By Two, has answers to the most commonly asked vaccine questions. The CDC has an infographic that shows the long journey that your child's vaccines go through before your child is vaccinated.
Vaccines for preteens
It is important for preteens to get vaccines to protect them against diseases they can develop today and in the future.
How should I prepare for my 11-12-year-old's vaccine visit? The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has several resources about vaccines, including How to Prepare for a Vaccine Visit.
What vaccines does my 11-12-year-old need to protect them? Preteens need four vaccines:
- An annual influenza vaccine, also called the flu shot, which protects against a severe respiratory disease. The CDC recommends getting the vaccine in the early fall of every year.
- Tdap, which is a booster shot to continue protection against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, also called whooping cough. You can learn about the Tdap school requirement through our Parent Factsheet (P-00039).
- Human papillomavirus (HPV), which prevents certain HPV-related pre-cancers and cancers. All boys and girls should finish the series before they turn 13 years of age.
- Quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate (MCV4) vaccine protects against meningococcal disease, an infection in the lining of the brain and spinal cord, and bloodstream infections.
The CDC offers an easy-to-read vaccine schedule for children ages 7-18.
Is there more information about the diseases? The Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Division of Public Health, has created an overview for parents (P-90022) about preteen vaccine-preventable-diseases.
What if my preteen did not receive the recommended vaccines for younger children? Talk with your child's health care provider about your concerns. The CDC recommends that children who receive their vaccines late follow the catch-up schedule. You can take CDC's interactive vaccine quiz to learn which vaccines your preteen still needs.
Are vaccines covered by my insurance? You can learn about the Wisconsin Vaccines for Children program, which covers the cost of vaccines for eligible children. The national non-profit organization Every Child By Two also has resources available for parents who are concerned about the cost of vaccines.
Have more questions? There are many excellent resources available the CDC offers information about the importance of protecting your teen by vaccinating. Vaccinate Your Family, a resource from Every Child By Two has a variety of resources, including links to education resources, vaccine policy information and other resources. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Vaccine Education Center has up-to-date information about vaccine information.
Vaccines for older teens
Did you know that older teens need vaccines, too? Make an appointment with their health care provider today to make sure they are fully protected against vaccine preventable diseases. Teaching teens to make regular health check-ups regularly creates healthy habits for life! Don't forget that every year in the early fall, everyone six months of age and older needs an annual influenza vaccination!
What vaccines does my 16-year-old need? The CDC recommends that at age 16, children receive a booster quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate (MCV4) vaccine. MCV4 protects against meningitis, an infection of the fluid lining the brain, and bacteremina or septicemia, which are types of blood infections. A booster dose is needed to continue protection while their risk of infection is highest.
The CDC also recommends that health care providers discuss administering a meningococcal serogroup B vaccination to patients ages 16-23 years old to help protect against an additional strain of the bacteria that causes meningitis.
What other vaccines will my older teen need? If your teen is behind on other childhood vaccines such as HPV or MMR, talk with your health care provider about bringing your child up to date. You can take an interactive quiz to decide which vaccines your teen still needs.
Are vaccines covered by my insurance? You can learn about the Wisconsin Vaccines for Children program, which covers the cost of vaccines for eligible children. The national non-profit organization, Every Child By Two has resources available for parents who are concerned about the cost of vaccines.
Although there may be risks with any medical product, vaccines are some of the safest medical products available, and are the best defense against vaccine preventable diseases. Vaccines are the best defense that we have 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 thimerosal and other 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 thimerosal and other 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. Once a vaccine is available, it is monitored by the CDC and the FDA through:
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The childhood and adolescent immunization schedule, medical indication schedule, and catch-up schedule are approved by 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 your tablet or smart phone.
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 VIS in multiple languages. The Immunization Program is working to update the disease fact sheets, which can be used along with (not to supplement) the VISs.
Vaccine office resources
- How to administer intramuscular and subcutaneous vaccines
- Dose, route, site, and needle size
- Contraindications and precautions
- Holding a child during vaccination
Posters and handouts
- You can order Vaccine and Vaccine Safety FAQs, vaccine booklets, videos and DVDs from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
- You can order flyers and posters for preteens and teens and infographics and 30 second videos for younger children from the CDC. You can also find information about vaccine conversations with parents.
- You can print handouts on specific diseases and vaccine issues for parents from the Immunization Action Coalition.
- Find 2017-2018 influenza-specific resources from the CDC.
- Indian Health Services (IHS) has created handouts and posters for American Indian and Alaska Native populations.
Further reading and training
Trainings from the CDC
Trainings from the Immunization Action Coalition: Immunization 16-year-old platform
Trainings from The Indiana Immunization Coalition
Wisconsin Vaccines for Children (VFC) and Quality Improvement (AFIX) programs
Information for health care providers about participating in either the:
Reporting a vaccine preventable disease
If you need to report a vaccine preventable disease, follow this link, select the appropriate disease, then click on the tab that says "information for health care professionals."