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Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Vaccines & Immunizations

For Specific Groups of People:

Infant Immunizations

Immunization is one of the most important public health interventions in history. It has saved millions of lives over the years and prevented hundreds of millions of cases of disease.

Infants and young children need to be vaccinated because the diseases prevented by vaccination can strike at an early age. Also, these diseases can be far more serious or common among infants or young children. For example, of the children under 6 months of age who get whooping cough (pertussis), 72% must be hospitalized, and about 84% of all deaths from pertussis are among children younger than 6 months of age.

Immunization is one of the most important things a parent can do to protect their children’s health. Today, we can protect children younger than two years old from 14 serious diseases including:

At least one vaccine is needed for each of these diseases, and for some diseases several doses are required for the best protection. Several “combination vaccines” exist in which multiple vaccines are given in a single shot, reducing the number of shots needed.

Vaccines are safe and effective. Failure to vaccinate may mean putting children at risk for serious diseases. Find out if your infant or toddler is due for a vaccination.

If you child needs shots, call your child’s healthcare provider or the health department to make an immunization appointment. If you go to a private doctor, vaccines might be covered by your health insurance. A program called “Vaccines for Children” (VFC) provides vaccines at no cost for children who are enrolled in Medicaid, don't have health insurance, or who are American Indian or Alaska Native. VFC may cover your child if your health insurance does not cover vaccines; you can take your child to a federally qualified health center or a rural health clinic. You may have to pay a small fee for the nurse to give the vaccine.  If you need help locating a vaccination provider in your community, call the health department or the CDC-INFO Contact Center at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).

Immunization Questions:


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This page last modified on June 29, 2007
Content last reviewed on June 29, 2007
Content Source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases

Safer Healthier People

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30333, U.S.A
Public Inquiries: 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636); 1-888-232-6348 (TTY)

Vaccines and Immunizations