It’s almost back to school time, so let’s talk about your child and vaccines!

What should I do if my child is behind on their vaccination schedule due to the pandemic?

There’s no reason to worry! There are recommendations to help get your child up-to-date with their immunizations. Each vaccine has its own guidelines, so talk with your child’s doctor to get them back on schedule.

Does my child really need catch-up vaccines? Yes, and don’t delay!

When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, the only reason immunizations should be delayed is if you, your child, or someone in your household is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. As soon as these symptoms resolve, your child’s medical care can resume.

If you have questions, please reach out to your health care provider. Your health care provider can talk with you about specific vaccine questions, and vaccines that may have been missed, and discuss catching up on your child’s vaccination schedule.

Back-to-School Toolkit

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of vaccines?2022-07-11T14:41:00-05:00

Without vaccines, your child is at risk of getting diseases that can cause severe illness, disability, and even death. Diseases such as measles and whooping cough are vaccine-preventable but can be deadly in an unvaccinated child. Vaccines can keep you, your child, and your family safe from vaccine-preventable illnesses.

What are the risks of vaccines?2022-07-11T14:41:46-05:00

Risks associated with vaccination are side effects, which are nearly always mild and can include redness and swelling at the injection site. These side effects almost always go away within a few days. Serious side effects after vaccination, such as an allergic reaction, are rare.

Can my child get the COVID-19 vaccine while getting other vaccinations?2022-07-11T14:42:44-05:00

Children and teens can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other routinely recommended vaccines at the same visit. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and recommended for children as young as six months.

Why are there so many doses for each vaccine? Does my child need them all?2022-07-11T14:44:53-05:00

Yes, your child needs all the recommended doses of each vaccine. These doses provide your child with the best defense possible. Some vaccines need more than one dose to build enough immunity to prevent disease or to boost immunity that may become less effective over time. Some viruses, such as the flu, change over time so new doses are needed annually. Every dose is important because each protects against diseases that can be serious for unvaccinated infants, children, and teens.

What are the ingredients in vaccines and what do they do?2022-07-11T14:46:34-05:00

Vaccines contain ingredients that cause the body to develop immunity. Vaccines also contain small amounts of other ingredients. All ingredients play necessary roles either in making the vaccine or in ensuring that the final product is safe and effective.

Can I wait until my child goes to school to catch up on vaccinations?2022-07-11T14:47:17-05:00

Young children can be exposed to vaccine-preventable diseases from a number of places prior to starting school. Children under five are at particular risk of catching these diseases because their immune systems have not built up the necessary protection to fight infection. Be safe and vaccinate your children against vaccine-preventable diseases before they start school.

Why do adolescents need vaccines? I thought they were just for babies and young children?2022-07-11T14:48:16-05:00

Vaccines are recommended throughout our lifetime to keep us safe from serious diseases. As protection from childhood vaccines wears off, adolescents need vaccines that will extend vaccine protection. Adolescents also need protection from other infections before the risk of exposure increases.

Should my child still get vaccinated for COVID-19 even if they already had it?2022-07-11T14:49:50-05:00

Yes, you can still add protection by getting vaccinated after having been infected with COVID-19. Children can get vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as their symptoms have resolved, or if they were asymptomatic, they can get vaccinated when their isolation has ended.

I was vaccinated as an infant and as a child. Why do I need vaccines for college?2022-07-11T14:50:33-05:00

As college-aged adults, your exposures may change. Vaccinations like Hepatitis A, Meningococcus B, Pneumococcal, and HPV are appropriate for this exciting new chapter in your life. Some of these vaccines, such as HPV, are able to be given to pre-teens and older, and may not be necessary if they have already been received. Meningococcus B vaccine may be given as young as 16, so this also may not be needed if it has already been administered. Speak to your health care provider to make sure that you are up-to-date on all of your vaccines so that you are prepared to begin this new chapter of your life safe from vaccine-preventable severe diseases

Are vaccines safe?2022-07-11T14:39:52-05:00

Vaccines are very safe and recommended! Currently, the United States has the safest vaccine supply in its history. The United States has a vaccine safety system that ensures vaccines are as safe as possible. Millions of children safely receive vaccines each year. The most common side effects are typically very mild, such as pain or swelling at the injection site.

When is the best time to get my flu vaccine?2022-10-06T17:01:03-05:00

It’s best to be vaccinated before flu begins spreading in your community. September and October are generally good times to be vaccinated against flu. Ideally, everyone should be vaccinated by the end of October. However, even if you are not able to get vaccinated until November or later, vaccination is still recommended because flu most commonly peaks in February and significant activity can continue into May.

Additional considerations concerning the timing of vaccination for certain groups include:

  • Adults, especially those 65 years and older, should generally not get vaccinated early (in July or August) because protection may decrease over time, but early vaccination can be considered for any person who is unable to return at a later time to be vaccinated.
  • Some children need two doses of flu vaccine. For those children it is recommended to get the first dose as soon as vaccine is available, because the second dose needs to be given at least four weeks after the first. Vaccination during July and August also can be considered for children who need only one dose. Early vaccination can also be considered for people who are in the third trimester of pregnancy, because this can help protect their infants during the first months of life (when they are too young to be vaccinated).
Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine during the same visit?2022-10-06T17:00:44-05:00

Yes, you can get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same time if you are eligible and the timing coincides.

Even though both vaccines can be given at the same visit, people should follow the recommended schedule for either vaccine: If you haven’t gotten your currently recommended doses of COVID-19 vaccine, get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can, and ideally get a flu vaccine by the end of October.

Can I get a flu vaccine at the same time I get my COVID-19 booster shot?2022-10-06T17:00:29-05:00

Yes, you can get a flu vaccine at the same time you get a COVID-19 vaccine, including a COVID-19 booster shot.

Can children get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine during the same visit?2022-10-06T17:00:11-05:00

Yes, children who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination can get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same visit.

If your child is eligible, get them up to date on their recommended COVID-19 vaccine and annual flu vaccine as soon as possible. You can get both vaccines at the same time, but don’t delay either vaccination in order to get them both at the same visit. Both vaccines are recommended, and your child should get the recommended doses for each vaccine.

All children 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine. Most children will only need one dose of flu vaccine. Your child’s healthcare provider can tell you if your child needs two doses of flu vaccine.

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