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Vaccines and Immunizations

Learn general information about vaccines and immunizations.

For specific information about COVID-19 vaccines, see COVID-19 Health Information, Vaccines, and Testing.

Vaccination and Immunization Basics

A vaccination is the injection of a killed or weakened organism into your body by a needle, swallowing, or inhaling. The vaccine produces immunity in the body against that organism.

One type of vaccination is a flu shot. Influenza or “the flu” is a respiratory virus that you can pass to another person. Everyone can be at risk for flu complications like pneumonia. “Flu season” usually begins in late October or early November in the U.S.

Learn more about preventing the flu.

Immunization is the process by which you become protected from a disease. Each year, the CDC releases a list of immunizations recommended from birth through college and adulthood to protect against certain diseases. In some cases, children might need proof they have been immunized against certain diseases before attending school.

Get immunization schedules for all ages.

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Find Where to Get Vaccinated

It’s best to see your health care provider for any shots you may need since they know your health history. Other options:

Get the Cost of Immunizations Covered

Depending on your income, age, and health insurance coverage, you or your children may be eligible for free vaccinations.

Vaccine Injury Reporting

If you or your child experienced a serious reaction to a vaccine, you may want to report it through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Read frequently asked questions about reporting vaccine-related adverse events.

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) monitors supplies of vaccines and vaccine costs. VICP also helps people receive compensation if a vaccination injured them.

Learn about the safety of infant immunizations including information about autism and vaccines.

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Last Updated: March 25, 2021