Learn general information about vaccines and immunizations.
For specific information about COVID-19 vaccines, see COVID-19 Health Information, Vaccines, and Testing.
A vaccine stimulates your immune system to produce immunity to a specific disease, helping protect you from that disease. Vaccines are usually given through needle injections, but can also be administered by mouth or sprayed into the nose.
One type of vaccine is the 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.
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.
It’s best to see your health care provider for any shots you may need since they know your health history. Other options:
- Put your ZIP code in the vaccine locator tool to find a provider near you.
- Contact your state health department.
Depending on your income, age, and health insurance coverage, you or your children may be eligible for free vaccinations.
- Learn about the Vaccines for Children program (VFC).
- See if your family qualifies for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
- Find out if you are eligible for Medicare or Medicaid-covered vaccinations.
- Search for a local health center that can give immunizations at a cost based on your income.
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.