Behind on Your Vaccines? 4 Steps to Get Back on Track—Safely

Did you miss one, some, or all of the immunizations on the Center for Disease Control’s recommended vaccination schedule? It’s not too late. Follow these steps to get up to date in a safe, timely manner.

Determine What You’re Missing
The CDC has great resources to help you determine the vaccines you need. Use this chart or questionnaire to see what immunizations you should have. If possible, get access to your medical records to find out what doses you missed. If you don’t have access to medical records, try to remember what doses you have (but be sure to disclose this to a healthcare professional before you start a new regimen). A parent or guardian might help you track down these records, or confirm that you’re remembering correctly.  

Determine Your Risks
You may have a  health condition or demographic status that makes certain shots riskier for you than the general population. For example, those 65 and older should avoid the intradermal flu shot, while pregnant women should avoid many vaccines until after birth. It’s vital to  determine how your age, health, and lifestyle might put you at risk before getting vaccinated.

Talk to a Healthcare Professional
It’s a must to talk to a doctor, nurse, or other health professional before you begin your new vaccination regimen. Bring in your list of risk factors, missed shots, and any questions you have after doing your research. Together, the two of you can determine what shots you need and when you need them.

Get Vaccinated!
Congratulations, you’re ready to go! Ask the healthcare professional about the best places in your community to get the immunizations you need. Doctors’ offices, clinics, and pharmacies are great places to start. Worried about paying for all these doses? Check out our guide to paying for vaccines when you’re uninsured or underinsured.

Fascinating Vaccine Ted Talks to Watch Now (And Share With All Your Friends Later)

People are addicted to TED Talks, and it’s no wonder why: Industry experts of all stripes explain ideas that excite them in easy-to-understand terms—and inspire us all to try and change the world. There’s no easier way to learn the latest on any topic, including vaccinations. Start with these 4 talks to become a more informed, up-to-date immunization advocate.

Seth Berkely: The troubling reason why vaccines are made too late… if they’re made at all

Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, explains why there was no Ebola vaccine to help stop the recent outbreak—and what that can teach the immunization community. The crisis demonstrated many important points: how we should prepare for diseases, the danger of taking vaccines for granted, and how scientific findings about one disease (like the flu) can help inform immunizations for another (like Ebola). Finally, he points to the way forward in the fight against global disease.

Dr Adam Finn: How Vaccines Work 

Dr. Adam Finn explains what really makes vaccines work—not just individual immunity, but the herd immunity that is created when a whole community is protected. Using the history of whooping cough epidemics throughout the 20th century, he shows how herd immunity can eradicate diseases, and how those diseases can come roaring back when vaccinations rates fall. But, he says, there is hope. Just like humans can spread disease, we can spread ideas. This talk will help you spread the idea that vaccines are safe, effective, and necessary.

Brude Aylward: How We’ll Stop Polio For Good 

The polio vaccine is one of the immunization community’s greatest success stories. Thanks to the immunization, the deadly disease is now completely eradicated in the U.S. But, that’s not the case everywhere, as Bruce Aylward, Assistant Director-General of the World Health Organization, reminds us. While celebrating how much good the dose has done, he explains how much work is still left and lays out a plan to wipe out the disease for good.

Adam Grosser-A Mobile Fridge for Vaccines 

Vaccine access is taken for granted in the U.S, but many developing nations don’t have the infrastructure to make sure residents can receive these lifesaving  doses. One of the biggest obstacles: Vaccines need to be kept at a cold temperature, and many remote villages don’t have electricity needed to power refrigerators. Adam Grosser, general partner at Foundation Capital, has created a potential solution—a refrigerator that works without electricity.


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Simple Ways to Get Essential Vaccines, Despite Your Ability to Pay

It’s easy to think that you can’t afford vaccines you want and need. But it’s vital that everyone—despite your insurance plan—stick to the Center for Disease Control’s recommended vaccination schedule. The good news? Whether for a child, adult, or senior, plenty of resources can help you find affordable vaccines.  Here are four:

Vaccines for Children
Here’s the best news: Children are covered under the Vaccines for Children Program. Run by the CDC, VFC gives immunizations to kids at no cost to them or their parents. VFC will help  anyone under 19 who is eligible for Medicaid, uninsured, underinsured, or is of native American or Alaskan descent.

Free clinics
Many—but not all—free clinics provide vaccines (check with your local one). Even when they don’t, they’re an invaluable resource in your hunt for affordable doses. Workers at free clinics are experts on local health care options. With their on-the-ground knowledge, they can point you to the best local resources to get the protection that you need. Free clinics may also have a mobile unit that will travel to your neighborhood for easy access. 

Community Health Centers
Community Health Centers provide access to comprehensive and affordable healthcare right in your community. Some community health centers may charge for vaccines, but it’s often done on a sliding scale based on your ability to pay.  Check the HRSA site to see if there’s a Community Health Center near you.

There are a few ways to get vaccinated at a pharmacy. Pharmacists might administer the vaccines themselves, or doctors might be on hand to provide the immunization (either temporarily or by hosting a clinic on an ongoing basis). Vaccines administered by the pharmacist usually have an affordable, all-inclusive price. If the pharmacy hosts a doctor, however, you may be charged for the vaccine and for the clinic visit. Check before sitting down for the appointment.


National Survey Finds Texas Vaccination Rates Dropped Alarmingly: You Can Help #ProtectTexas

Vaccination rates among Texas children ages 19–35 months fell by an alarming 8.5 percent from 2013 to 2014, according to the just-released National Immunization Survey, the Center for Disease Control’s annual assessment of immunization rates.

Vaccine adherence among Texas children aged 19-35 months of age was 64 percent in 2014, compared to 72.5 percent in 2013. The National Immunization Survey is conducted annually and measures children’s adherence to the Center for Disease Control’s recommended vaccination schedule at the state and community levels.

Together, we can take steps to reverse this trend:

  • Identify vaccination gaps: Discuss your child’s vaccination schedule with a pediatrician, as it’s easy to miss certain vaccines, especially those that require multiple doses.
  • Check your coverage: Call your insurance company to see which vaccines are offered under your current plan. If you have any questions, discuss with your insurance provider or clinician’s office.
  • Contact your local immunization coalition: Your local coalition offers resources to make vaccination information easily accessible; check in with them to find vaccine schedules, educational resources, information on receiving appropriate immunizations, and ways to get involved in your community.
  • Broadcast your concern: Use the #ProtectTexas hashtag on Facebook and Twitter to tell the world why you vaccinate your family—and why it’s important that everyone do the same.