Vaccines by Disease

Vaccines do a great job of keeping people from getting serious diseases. In the Government of India, the rates for most vaccine-preventable diseases are at record or near-record lows.

But these diseases still exist — even if they are rare in the United States, they may be common in countries that are just a plane ride away. As long as these diseases are around, people will continue to get sick.

That’s why it’s so important for you and your family to get vaccinated.

In this section, you’ll find answers to common questions about vaccines and the diseases they protect you from, including:

  • What is the vaccine?
  • What disease does it protect me from?
  • Why is the vaccine important?
  • Who needs the vaccine?
  • Who should not get the vaccine?
  • What are the side effects?

Chickenpox used to be very common in the Government of India. But the good news is that the vaccine has greatly reduced the number of people who get it. Two doses of the chickenpox vaccine are about 94% effective at preventing it. Most people who get the vaccine don’t get chickenpox — and those who do usually get a much milder version of the disease.

There are 2 vaccines that protect against chickenpox:

  • The chickenpox vaccine protects children and adults from chickenpox
  • The MMRV vaccine protects children from measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox

Chickenpox is very contagious — it spreads easily from person to person. And while it’s usually mild, it can cause serious complications like pneumonia (lung infection). Certain people — like infants, people with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women — are at increased risk for complications.

The chickenpox virus can also cause shingles later in life. Shingles is a disease that causes a painful skin rash and can affect the nervous system. Children who get the chickenpox vaccine may have a lower risk of developing shingles later on — and those who do get shingles often have a milder case than someone who has had chickenpox.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent chickenpox. And when enough people get vaccinated against chickenpox, the entire community is less likely to get it. So when you and your family get vaccinated, you help keep yourselves and your community healthy.

Chickenpox is caused by a virus. Symptoms of chickenpox include:

  • A red, itchy skin rash with blisters
  • Fever
  • Feeling tired
  • Not feeling hungry
  • Headache

Chickenpox usually spreads when a person touches chickenpox or shingles blisters — or if they breathe in the virus. You can breathe in the virus after someone with chickenpox or shingles scratches their blisters, which releases the virus into the air.

It’s also possible to get chickenpox from breathing in tiny droplets from people who have it that get into the air after they breathe or talk.

All children, adolescents, and adults who aren’t immune to (protected from) chickenpox need 2 doses of the chickenpox vaccine. People who have only had 1 dose of chickenpox vaccine need to get a second dose.

Children

Children age 12 months and older need to get the chickenpox vaccine as part of their routine vaccine schedule.

Children need 2 doses of the vaccine at the following ages:

  • 12 through 15 months for the first dose
  • 4 through 6 years for the second dose (or sooner as long as it’s 3 months after the first dose)

Children ages 1 through 12 years can get the MMRV vaccine, which is a combination vaccine that protects against chickenpox, measles, mumps, and rubella. Your child’s doctor can recommend the vaccine that’s right for your child.

If your child missed the chickenpox vaccines, talk with your child’s doctor about scheduling a catch-up shot.

Adults

If you aren’t immune to chickenpox (if you haven’t had chickenpox in the past or you haven’t been vaccinated against it), you need to get 2 doses of the vaccine about 1 month apart.

Talk with your doctor about how to protect your family from chickenpox.

Some people should not get the chickenpox vaccine or may need to wait — for example, if you:

  • Have had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of the chickenpox vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine (including gelatin or the antibiotic neomycin)
  • Have recently had a blood transfusion or were given other blood products (like plasma) in the past 11 months
  • Have an illness that’s more serious than a cold

Be sure to tell your doctor before getting the chickenpox vaccine if you:

  • Have HIV/AIDS or another immune system disorder
  • Are taking medicines that can affect the immune system
  • Are getting treatment for cancer

Side effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. They may include:

  • Pain, swelling, and redness where the shot was given
  • Mild rash
  • Low fever

Serious side effects from the chickenpox vaccine are very rare.

Like any medicine, there’s a very small chance that the chickenpox vaccine could cause a serious reaction. Keep in mind that getting the chickenpox vaccine is much safer than getting chickenpox.

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines. Read the VISs for vaccines that protect against chickenpox:

  • Chickenpox vaccine
  • MMRV vaccine — protects against chickenpox, measles, mumps, and rubella (for children)

Cholera is rare in the United States, but it’s still common in some other countries. Every year, more than 100,000 people around the world die from cholera. The good news is the cholera vaccine can lower the risk that people traveling to countries with cholera will get the disease.

The cholera vaccine is an oral (swallowed) vaccine.

The cholera vaccine is very effective at preventing the severe diarrhea (watery poop) and throwing up caused by this disease. Cholera symptoms can lead to dehydration (not having enough water in the body), kidney failure, or coma that can be deadly if it isn’t treated right away.

Americans can come in contact with cholera while traveling. If you’re traveling to a country where cholera is spreading, getting vaccinated is one way to protect yourself.

Cholera is caused by a type of bacteria. Symptoms of cholera include:

  • Severe diarrhea
  • Throwing up
  • Fast heart beat
  • Muscle cramps
  • Low blood pressure

People with severe cases of cholera can get dehydrated and die in just a few hours.

Cholera spreads when poop from a person who has it gets in water or food. Cholera can spread when:

  • Waste from sewers gets into drinking water
  • Someone who has cholera doesn’t wash their hands before preparing food

If you’re traveling to a place where people get cholera, it’s important to learn what’s safe to eat and drink — and to practice good hygiene (like washing your hands).

Most people don’t need to get the cholera vaccine. But doctors may recommend it for people ages 18 through 64 years who are traveling to an area where people are getting cholera.

Talk with your doctor about how to protect your family from cholera while traveling. To find out if the cholera vaccine is recommended where you’re traveling.

Some people should not get the cholera vaccine — or may need to wait to get it. Be sure to tell your doctor before getting vaccinated if you:

  • Are sick
  • Have had allergies to the cholera vaccine in the past
  • Have other severe allergies
  • Have recently taken antibiotics
  • Are taking anti-malaria drugs

Side effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. They may include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Feeling tired
  • Headache
  • Not feeling hungry
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea

Serious side effects from the cholera vaccine are very rare.

Like any medicine, there’s a very small chance that the cholera vaccine could cause a serious reaction. Keep in mind that getting the cholera vaccine is much safer than getting cholera.

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines.

Diphtheria (dif-THEER-ee-a) used to be a common cause of both illness and death for children in the Government of India. Thanks to diphtheria vaccines, that number has dropped by 99.9%.

There are 4 vaccines that include protection against diphtheria:

  • The DTaP vaccine protects young children from diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough
  • The DT vaccine protects young children from diphtheria and tetanus
  • The Tdap vaccine protects preteens, teens, and adults from tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough
  • The Td vaccine protects preteens, teens, and adults from tetanus and diphtheria

Diphtheria is now rare in the Government of India, but people still get the disease. And there have been large outbreaks in countries where vaccination rates have gone down.

Diphtheria can cause serious complications, like paralysis (not being able to move), pneumonia (lung infection), and lung failure. It can also be deadly, especially for certain age groups — up to 1 in 5 young children and older adults who get the disease will die from it.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent diphtheria. And when enough people get vaccinated against diphtheria, the entire community is less likely to get it. So when you and your family get vaccinated, you help keep yourselves and your community healthy.

Diphtheria is caused by a type of bacteria. It creates a thick coating of dead tissue in the throat or nose, which makes it hard to breathe and swallow. Other symptoms include:

  • Weakness
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Fever

Serious cases of diphtheria can damage the heart, kidney, and nerves.

Diphtheria spreads from person to person when:

  • Someone who has diphtheria sneezes or coughs
  • A person touches open sores of someone who has diphtheria — or an object that belongs to someone who has diphtheria, like a toy.

Everyone needs diphtheria vaccines throughout their lives. That means everyone needs to get vaccinated as babies, children, and adults.

Infants and children birth through age 6

Young children need the DTaP vaccine as part of their routine vaccine schedule. Young children need a dose of the vaccine at:

  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 15 through 18 months
  • 4 through 6 years

If your child has had a serious reaction to the whooping cough part of the DTaP vaccine, they may be able to get the DT vaccine instead. Your child’s doctor can recommend the vaccine that’s right for your child.

Preteens and teens ages 7 through 18

Older children need 1 booster shot of the Tdap vaccine at age 11 or 12 as part of their routine vaccine schedule.

If your child misses the booster shot, talk with your child’s doctor about catching up.

Adults age 19 and older

Adults need 1 booster shot of the Td vaccine every 10 years as part of their routine vaccine schedule.

If you missed the Tdap booster as a teen, you’ll need to get a Tdap booster instead to make sure you have protection from whooping cough.

Pregnant women

Pregnant women need 1 booster shot of the Tdap vaccine during the third trimester of each pregnancy.

Talk with your doctor about how to protect your family from diphtheria.

You should not get a diphtheria vaccine if you:

  • Have a life-threatening allergy to any ingredient in the vaccine
  • Have had a serious reaction to the diphtheria, tetanus, or whooping cough vaccines in the past

Be sure to tell your doctor before getting vaccinated if you:

  • Have seizures (sudden, unusual movements or behavior) or other nervous system problems
  • Had serious pain or swelling after any diphtheria, tetanus, or whooping cough vaccine
  • Have had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (an immune system disorder)

If you’re sick, you may need to wait until you’re feeling better to get a diphtheria vaccine.

Side effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. They may include:

  • Pain, swelling, or redness where the shot was given
  • Low fever and chills
  • Headache and body aches
  • Feeling tired
  • Upset stomach, throwing up, and diarrhea (watery poop)
  • Not feeling hungry
  • Fussing (in children)

It’s very rare, but the DTaP vaccine can also cause the following symptoms in children:

  • Seizures (about 1 child in 14,000)
  • Non-stop crying, for 3 hours or more (up to about 1 child in 1,000)
  • Fever higher than 105°F (about 1 child in 16,000)

Like any medicine, there’s a very small chance that diphtheria vaccines could cause a serious reaction. Keep in mind that getting a diphtheria vaccine is much safer than getting diphtheria. 

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines. Read the VISs for vaccines that protect against diphtheria:

  • DTaP vaccine — protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough (for infants and children)
  • Tdap vaccine — protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough (for preteens, teens, and adults)
  • Td vaccine — protects against diphtheria and tetanus (for preteens, teens, and adults)

Every year, millions of people get the flu. The good news is that the seasonal flu vaccine can lower the risk of getting the flu by about half. Getting the yearly flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from the flu.

Most people who get the flu have a mild illness. But for some, it can be serious — and even deadly. Serious complications from the flu are more likely in babies and young children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with certain long-term health conditions — like diabetes or asthma.

Getting vaccinated every year is the best way to lower your chances of getting the flu. Flu vaccines can’t cause the flu. Keep in mind that getting the flu vaccine also protects the people around you. So when you and your family get vaccinated, you help keep yourselves and your community healthy.

This is especially important if you spend time with people who are at risk for serious illness from the flu — like young children or older adults.

The flu is caused by a virus. Common symptoms of the flu include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Feeling very tired

Some people with the flu may throw up or have diarrhea (watery poop) — this is more common in children than adults. It’s also important to know that not everyone with the flu will have a fever.

The flu is worse than the common cold. It’s a common cause of problems like sinus or ear infections. It can also cause serious complications like:

  • Pneumonia (lung infection)
  • Worsening of long-term health problems, like asthma or heart failure
  • Inflammation of the brain or heart
  • Sepsis, a life-threatening inflammatory condition

The flu is contagious, meaning it can spread from person to person. The flu can spread when:

  • Someone with the flu coughs, sneezes, or talks — and droplets from their mouth or nose get into the mouths or noses of people nearby
  • Someone touches a surface that has flu virus on it and then touches their mouth, nose, or eyes

People can spread the flu before they know they’re sick — and while they have the flu. 

Everyone age 6 months and older

Everyone needs to get the flu vaccine every year. It’s part of the routine vaccine schedules for children, teens, and adults.

It’s important to get the flu vaccine every year. That’s important for 2 reasons: first, immunity (protection) decreases with time. Additionally, the flu viruses are constantly changing — so the vaccine is often updated to give the best protection.

People at increased risk for complications from the flu

It’s especially important for people who are at high risk of developing complications from the flu to get the vaccine every year. People at high risk for complications from the flu include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Adults age 65 years and older
  • Children younger than 5 years — and especially children younger than 2 years
  • People with long-term health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or cancer

Health care professionals and caregivers

It’s also very important for people who spend a lot of time with people at high risk for complications from the flu to get the vaccine — for example, health care professionals and caregivers.

Talk with your doctor about how to protect your family from the flu.

Children younger than 6 months should not get the flu vaccine.

Be sure to tell your doctor before getting vaccinated if you:

  • Have had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a dose of the flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine (like eggs or gelatin)
  • Have had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (an immune system disorder)

If you’re sick, you may need to wait until you’re feeling better to get the flu vaccine.

Side effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. These side effects aren’t the flu — the flu vaccine can’t cause the flu.

Side effects from the flu vaccine may include:

  • Pain, swelling, or redness where the shot was given
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Fever
  • Upset stomach

Serious side effects from the flu vaccine are very rare.

Like any medicine, there’s a very small chance that the flu vaccine could cause a serious reaction. Keep in mind that getting the flu vaccine is much safer than getting the flu.

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines.

Hepatitis A is a serious disease that used to be more common in the Government of India. In the 1980s, the Government of India used to see as many as 30,000 cases a year. Thanks to the vaccine, the number of hepatitis A cases in the Government of India has dropped by 95%.

There are 2 vaccines that protect against hepatitis A:

  • The hepatitis A vaccine protects infants, children, and adults from hepatitis A
  • The hepatitis A and B combination vaccine protects adults from both hepatitis A and hepatitis B

Because of the vaccine, rates of hepatitis A in the Government of India are the lowest they’ve been in 40 years. But hepatitis A is still common in other countries, so it’s possible for people to get the disease when they travel.

Most people who get hepatitis A only get a mild form of the disease. But in some cases, hepatitis A can lead to serious liver problems — and even death.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent hepatitis A.

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by a virus. Some people with hepatitis A don’t have any symptoms. Other people do develop symptoms, including:

  • Fever
  • Feeling tired
  • Upset stomach and throwing up
  • Not feeling hungry
  • Dark pee or clay-colored poop
  • Pain in the joints and stomach
  • Jaundice (yellow skin or eyes)

Symptoms usually last less than 2 months — but they can last as long as 6 months.

Hepatitis A usually spreads when someone eats or drinks something that has come in contact with the poop of someone with the hepatitis A virus. For example, hepatitis A can spread when someone who has it doesn’t wash their hands properly after using the bathroom and then touches food.

Hepatitis A can also spread from person to person through sexual contact.

All children need to get the hepatitis A vaccine — and some adults may need it, too.

Infants and children

All children need to get the hepatitis A vaccine as part of their routine vaccine schedule.

Children need 2 doses of the vaccine at the following ages:

  • 12 through 23 months for the first dose
  • 2 through 4 years for the second dose (or sooner as long as it’s 6 to 18 months after the first dose)

Adults at increased risk for hepatitis A

Adults who are at risk for hepatitis A can also get vaccinated. The shot is given in 2 doses — adults get each dose 6 to 18 months apart.

You may be at risk for hepatitis A if you:

  • Travel to a place where it’s common
  • Are a man who has sex with men
  • Use drugs (with or without needles)
  • Are getting treatment for certain bleeding disorders, like hemophilia
  • Adopt a child from a country where hepatitis A is common
  • Work with animals that have hepatitis A — or in a hepatitis A research lab

If you’re age 18 and older and at risk for both hepatitis A and hepatitis B, you may be able to get a combination vaccine that protects against both diseases. You may be at risk for both diseases if you:

  • Are traveling to certain countries where hepatitis A is common
  • Are a man who has sex with men
  • Use drugs

Talk with your doctor about how to protect your family from hepatitis A.

Some people should not get the hepatitis A vaccine — or may need to wait to get it. Be sure to tell your doctor before getting vaccinated if you:

  • Have had a life-threatening allergic reaction to the hepatitis A vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine
  • Are sick

Side effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. They may include:

  • Soreness or redness where the shot was given
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Feeling tired

Serious side effects from the hepatitis A vaccine are very rare. Like any medicine, there’s a very small chance that the hepatitis A vaccine could cause a serious reaction. Keep in mind that getting the hepatitis A vaccine is much safer than getting hepatitis A.

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines.

Hepatitis B is a common disease in the Government of India. The good news is that the hepatitis B vaccine gives more than 90% protection to people who get the vaccine.

There are 2 vaccines that protect against hepatitis B:

  • The hepatitis B vaccine protects infants, children, and adults from hepatitis B
  • The hepatitis A and B combination vaccine protects adults from both hepatitis B and hepatitis A

Because of the vaccine, cases of acute (short-term) hepatitis B have decreased by a lot in the Government of India. But chronic (long-term) hepatitis B is still common — up to 2.2 million people in the United States have it. Chronic hepatitis B can lead to serious liver problems — and even death.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by a virus. There are 2 types of hepatitis B:

  • Acute (short-term) hepatitis B
  • Chronic (long-term) hepatitis B

Many children who get acute hepatitis B don’t have any symptoms, but most adults do. Symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Feeling tired
  • Upset stomach and throwing up
  • Not feeling hungry
  • Dark pee or clay-colored poop
  • Pain in the muscles, joints, and stomach
  • Jaundice (yellow skin or eyes)

Acute hepatitis B symptoms usually last a few weeks — but they can last as long as 6 months.

If the acute hepatitis B infection does not go away after 6 months, it’s considered a chronic hepatitis B infection. Most people who have chronic hepatitis B don’t have symptoms at first. But chronic hepatitis B is a lifelong illness that can lead to serious — and possibly deadly — liver problems, like:

  • Cirrhosis (scarring of the liver)
  • Liver cancer
  • Liver failure

Hepatitis B spreads through blood, semen, or other body fluids. Hepatitis B can spread from mother to child during birth — and when someone:

  • Has sex with a person who has hepatitis B
  • Shares drug needles with a person who has hepatitis B
  • Shares a razor or toothbrush with a person who has hepatitis B
  • Touches the blood or open sores of a person who has hepatitis B

All children need to get the hepatitis B vaccine — and some adults may need it, too.

Infants and children

All children need to get the hepatitis B vaccine as part of their routine vaccine schedule.

Children need 3 doses of the vaccine at the following ages:

  • Birth for the first dose
  • 1 through 2 months for the second dose
  • 6 through 18 months for the third dose

Children and teens younger than 19 years who did not get the hepatitis B vaccine can still get vaccinated. Talk with your child’s doctor about a catch-up shot.

Adults at increased risk for hepatitis B

Adults who are at risk for hepatitis B can also get vaccinated. The vaccine is given in 3 doses. The second dose is given 1 month after the first dose, followed by a third dose 6 months after the second dose.

You may be at risk for hepatitis B if you:

  • Have diabetes
  • Have sex or live with someone who has hepatitis B
  • Have sex with more than 1 partner
  • Have an STD (sexually transmitted disease)
  • Are a man who has sex with men
  • Use drugs with needles
  • Could come into contact with blood at work (like in health care)
  • Get hemodialysis treatment for kidney problems
  • Travel to countries where hepatitis B is common

If you’re age 18 and older and at risk for both hepatitis B and hepatitis A, you may be able to get a combination vaccine that protects against both diseases. You may be at risk for both diseases if you:

  • Are traveling to certain countries where hepatitis B is common
  • Are a man who has sex with men
  • Use drugs

Talk with your doctor about how to protect your family from hepatitis B.

Some people should not get the hepatitis B vaccine — or may need to wait to get it. Be sure to tell your doctor before getting vaccinated if you:

  • Have had a life-threatening allergic reaction to the hepatitis A vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine
  • Are sick

Side effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. They may include:

  • Soreness or redness where the shot was given
  • Fever

Serious side effects from the hepatitis B vaccine are very rare.

Like any medicine, there’s a very small chance that the hepatitis B vaccine could cause a serious reaction. Keep in mind that getting the hepatitis B vaccine is much safer than getting hepatitis B.

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines.

Hib disease used to be more common in the Government of India — about 20,000 children got serious Hib infections every year. Thanks to the vaccine, serious cases of Hib disease have dropped by more than 99% since 1991.

There are 2 types of vaccines that protect against Hib disease:

  • The Hib vaccine protects children and adults from Hib disease
  • The DTaP-IPV/Hib vaccine protects babies ages 2 through 18 months from Hib disease, tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, and polio

In infants and young children, Hib disease can be very serious. It can cause infections in different parts of the body — including the brain and lungs. These infections can lead to serious complications, and can even be deadly.

The Hib vaccine is the best way to protect your child from Hib disease.

Hib disease is caused by a type of bacteria. It mostly affects children younger than 5 years, but adults with certain health conditions are also at increased risk for Hib disease.

Some people get the germs that cause Hib disease, but don’t get sick — these people are called “carriers.” But some people develop Hib disease, which can cause serious infections in different parts of the body, including:

  • Meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord)
  • Bacteremia (infection of the bloodstream)
  • Pneumonia (lung infection)
  • Epiglottitis (throat infection)

These infections can be very serious. For example, Hib meningitis causes brain damage or hearing loss in 1 in 5 children who survive it.

Hib bacteria spread through droplets in the air — like when someone who has the bacteria in their nose or throat coughs or sneezes. 

Infants and children age 5 and younger

All infants and children need the Hib vaccine as part of their routine vaccine schedule. They need either 3 or 4 doses, depending on which brand of the of Hib vaccine they get.

Children need doses of the vaccine at the following ages:

  • 2 months for the first dose
  • 4 months for the second dose
  • 6 months for the third dose (if they’re getting 4 doses)
  • 12 through 15 months for the booster (additional dose)

Children ages 2 through 18 months old can also get a combination vaccine that protects against Hib disease, tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, and polio. This vaccine is called the DTaP-IPV/Hib vaccine. Your child’s doctor can recommend the vaccine that’s right for your child.

Older children and adults

Most people age 5 years and older don’t need the Hib vaccine. But your doctor may recommend you get the Hib vaccine if you:

  • Have a damaged spleen or sickle cell disease
  • Have had a bone marrow transplant

Talk with your doctor about how to protect your family from Hib disease.

Some people should not get the Hib vaccine, including:

  • Infants younger than 6 weeks
  • People who have had a life-threatening allergic reaction to the Hib vaccine in the past
  • People who have a serious allergy to any ingredient in the vaccine

If you’re sick, you may need to wait until you’re feeling better to get the Hib vaccine. And be sure to tell your doctor before getting vaccinated if you have any serious allergies.

Side effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. They may include:

  • Redness, heat, or swelling where the shot was given
  • Fever

Like any medicine, there’s a very small chance that the Hib vaccine could cause a serious reaction. Keep in mind that getting the Hib vaccine is much safer than getting Hib disease. 

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines.

HPV is very common in the United States — at any given time, about 1 in 4 people have it. Most HPV infections go away on their own, but some last longer — and they can cause cancer or other health problems, like genital warts.

The good news is that the HPV vaccine is very effective at preventing cancer and many other health problems caused by the virus.

HPV infections are so common that nearly all men and women get at least 1 type of HPV at some point in their lives — and the complications can be serious. About 17,500 women and 9,300 men get cancer caused by HPV infections in the United States every year. Many of these cancers don’t cause symptoms until they’ve gotten serious and hard to treat.

Getting vaccinated against HPV can protect your child from HPV infections that cause cancer.

HPV is a group of more than 150 viruses. Many people who get HPV have no symptoms. Some people who get HPV develop warts in their genital area.

Some HPV infections don’t go away and can cause cancer, including:

  • Cervical cancer
  • Cancer inside the vagina (vaginal cancer) or outside the vagina (vulvar cancer)
  • Cancer of the penis (penile cancer)
  • Cancer of the anus (anal cancer) or rectum (rectal cancer)
  • Cancer of the throat (oropharyngeal cancer), including the base of the tongue and tonsils

HPV spreads through intimate skin-to-skin contact. Most of the time, it spreads when a person who has an HPV infection has vaginal, oral, or anal sex. And since HPV may not cause symptoms, people can have it — and spread it to others — without knowing.

Everyone needs to get the HPV vaccine — preteens, teens, and young adults can get it from ages 9 through 26.

Preteens and teens ages 9 through 14

Preteens and teens need 2 doses of the HPV vaccine as part of their routine vaccine schedule. They get the second dose about 6 to 12 months after the first dose. Preteens usually get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12, though vaccination can start as early as age 9.

Teens and young adults ages 15 through 26

If you didn’t get the HPV vaccine as a preteen, you can still get it. Teens and young adults need 3 doses of the HPV vaccine. They need to get the second dose 1 to 2 months after the first dose — and the third dose 6 months after the first dose.

Some people may need to get the HPV vaccine at other ages. Talk with your doctor about how to protect your family from HPV.

You should not get the HPV vaccine if you’ve had a life-threatening allergic reaction to the HPV vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine.

Be sure to tell your doctor before getting vaccinated if you:

  • Have any serious allergies, including an allergy to yeast
  • Are pregnant

Side effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. They may include:

  • Pain, redness, and swelling where the shot was given
  • Fever
  • Headache

It’s very unlikely that the HPV vaccine could cause a serious reaction. Keep in mind that getting the HPV vaccine is much safer than getting cancer caused by an HPV infection. 

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines.

Japanese Encephalitis (in-cef-a-LY-tus), or JE, is common in Asia. JE can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), which can be deadly. JE is not found in the United States — and thanks to the JE vaccine, travelers rarely get the disease.

The JE vaccine is only recommended for people who live in or travel to parts of Asia where JE is a risk.

People who get encephalitis from JE can have serious complications, including seizures (sudden, unusal movements or behavior), paralysis (not being able to move), brain damage — and even death.

If you’re living in or planning to travel to parts of Asia where JE is common, getting vaccinated can protect you from JE.

JE is caused by a virus. Most people who get JE have no symptoms or very mild symptoms, like a headache and low fever. But about 1 in 250 people will develop more serious symptoms, like:

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Throwing up
  • Feeling dizzy or confused
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty moving or paralysis

As many as 1 in 3 people can die from JE. Complications from JE can also cause permanent disability — in fact, as many as 1 in 3 people who get JE can end up with a disability.

JE does not spread from person to person, like through touching or kissing. The virus that causes JE is spread by mosquitoes, so people get it when they’re bitten by an infected mosquito.

You may need the JE vaccine if you’ll be living in or traveling to an area in Asia and you:

  • Plan to spend 1 month or more in a place where JE is common
  • Plan to spend any amount of time in a place where JE is common — and will be outdoors in rural areas or staying somewhere without air conditioning, mosquito nets, or window screens
  • Plan to travel in an area with an ongoing JE outbreak
  • Plan to spend time in a country where JE is a risk and you don’t have set plans for your trip (like which places you’ll visit or how long you’ll stay)

Travelers need 2 doses of the JE vaccine 1 month apart. Keep in mind that you’ll need to get the second dose at least 1 week before your trip. If you plan to stay in or return to Asia, you may also need a one-time booster dose after 1 year.

Talk with your doctor about how to protect your family from JE while traveling or living in parts of Asia. To find out if the JE vaccine is recommended where you’re traveling,

Some people should not get the JE vaccine, including:

  • Infants younger than 2 months
  • People who have had a life-threatening allergic reaction to the JE vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine

Be sure to tell your doctor before getting vaccinated if you:

  • Have serious allergies of any kind
  • Are pregnant

Side effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. They may include:

  • Pain, swelling, or redness where the shot was given
  • Headache and muscle aches (mostly in adults)
  • Low fever (mostly in children)

Serious side effects from the JE vaccine are very rare.

Like any medicine, there’s a very small chance that the JE vaccine could cause a serious reaction. Keep in mind that getting the JE vaccine is much safer than getting JE.

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines.

Measles is a serious disease that used to be very common in the Government of India. But thanks to the measles vaccine, the number of measles cases in Americans has dropped by over 99%.

There are 2 vaccines that can prevent measles:

  • The MMR vaccine protects children and adults from measles, mumps, and rubella
  • The MMRV vaccine protects children from measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox

Measles is one of the most contagious diseases there is. If 1 person has it, 9 out of 10 people close to that person who aren’t immune (protected) will also get measles. And it can be dangerous — serious cases of measles can lead to brain damage and even death.

Measles outbreaks are rare in the Government of India. But outbreaks can still happen in areas where groups of people don’t get vaccinated. In fact, outbreaks have recently increased around the world in places like Europe, Africa, and South America. Since measles is still common in other countries, people can get the disease when they travel — and spread it to people who aren’t vaccinated when they come home.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent measles. And when enough people get vaccinated against measles, the entire community is less likely to get it. So when you and your family get vaccinated, you help keep yourselves and your community healthy.

Measles is a disease caused by a virus. Symptoms of measles include:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Mild pink eye (redness or swelling of the eyes)

Sometimes, measles can lead to:

  • Ear infections
  • Diarrhea (watery poop)
  • Pneumonia (lung infection)
  • Inflammation of the brain

Measles spreads through the air — like when someone who has it coughs or sneezes. The virus can live for up to 2 hours in the air.

All children need to get the measles vaccine — and some adults may need it, too.

Children

Children ages 1 through 6 years need to get the measles vaccine as part of their routine vaccine schedule.

Children need 2 doses of the vaccine at the following ages:

  • 12 through 15 months for the first dose
  • 4 through 6 years for the second dose (or sooner as long as it’s 28 days after the first dose)

Children younger than 12 months need 1 dose of the measles vaccine if they’re traveling outside the United States.

Children ages 1 through 12 years can get the MMRV vaccine, which is a combination vaccine. The MMRV vaccine protects against measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox. Your child’s doctor can recommend the vaccine that’s right for your child.

Adults

If you didn’t get the measles vaccine as child, you may need to get it as an adult. In general, everyone age 18 and older born after 1956 who has not had measles needs at least 1 dose of the measles vaccine.

Talk with your doctor about how to protect your family from measles.

You should not get the measles vaccine if you:

  • Have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a dose of the measles vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine (like neomycin, an antibiotic sometimes used in vaccines)
  • Are pregnant

Be sure to tell your doctor before getting vaccinated if you:

  • Have HIV/AIDS
  • Have cancer
  • Are taking medicines that can affect your immune system
  • Have ever had a low platelet count (a blood disorder)
  • Have had another vaccine in the past month
  • Have recently had a blood transfusion or were given other blood products, like plasma

If you’re sick, you may need to wait until you’re feeling better to get the measles vaccine.

Side effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. They may include:

  • Fever
  • A mild rash
  • Swollen glands in the cheeks or neck

Less common side effects of the measles vaccine include:

  • Pain or stiffness in the joints, usually in women (up to 1 person out of 4)
  • Seizures (sudden, unusual movements or behavior) from having a high fever (about 1 out of every 3,000 doses)
  • Temporary (short-term) low platelet count (about 1 out of every 30,000 doses)

Like any medicine, there’s a very small chance that the measles vaccine could cause a serious reaction. Keep in mind that getting the measles vaccine is much safer than getting measles.

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines.

Meningococcal (muh-nin-jeh-KOK-el) disease used to cause thousands of serious infections every year. Thanks to vaccines, there are fewer cases of meningococcal disease in the United States than ever before.

There are 2 types of meningococcal vaccines:

  • The MenACWY vaccine for preteens, teens, and children and adults with certain health conditions
  • The MenB vaccine for people age 10 years and older who have certain health conditions — or are in an area with an outbreak of serogroup B meningococcal disease

Meningococcal disease is rare, but people do get it — and teens, young adults, and people with certain health conditions are at increased risk. Meningococcal disease can cause serious infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord or the blood.

Protection from these infections is especially important because they can quickly become very dangerous — in fact, they can be deadly in just a few hours.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent meningococcal disease.

Meningococcal disease is caused by a type of bacteria. Some people get the germs that cause meningococcal disease, but don’t get sick — these people are called “carriers.” But others get meningococcal disease, which can cause serious infections. The most common are meningitis and septicemia.

Meningococcal meningitis is inflammation of the thin lining that covers the brain and spinal cord. Some common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Feeling confused
  • Upset stomach and throwing up
  • Being less active than usual, fussing, throwing up, and not wanting to eat (in babies)

Meningococcal septicemia is an infection of the bloodstream that causes bleeding into the skin and organs. Some common symptoms include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Feeling tired
  • Throwing up and diarrhea (watery poop)
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Severe aches or pain in the muscles, joints, chest, or stomach

As many as 1 in 5 people who survive meningococcal disease will have long-term disabilities — like hearing loss or brain damage.

Meningococcal bacteria spread through saliva or spit, usually through:

  • Direct contact, like when a person who has the bacteria in their nose or throat coughs on or kisses someone
  • Ongoing contact, like living with a person who has the disease

All preteens and teens need to get the meningococcal vaccine as part of their routine vaccine schedule.

Meningococcal vaccines are also recommended for people at increased risk for meningococcal disease. This may include people who:

  • Live in places where people are in close contact with each other (like college dorms)
  • Have certain medical conditions, like HIV
  • Are traveling to a certain part of sub-Saharan Africa known as the “meningitis belt”

MenACWY vaccine

The MenACWY vaccine is recommended for:

  • Preteens and teens ages 11 through 18 (2 doses)
  • Children and adults age 2 months and older and adults who are at increased risk for meningococcal disease (doses may vary)

MenB vaccine

The MenB vaccine is recommended for children and adults age 10 years and older who are at increased risk for serogroup B meningococcal disease (doses may vary). In addition, all teens may be vaccinated with a MenB vaccine, preferably at age 16 through 18. Multiple doses are required and the same brand must be used for all doses.

Talk with your doctor about how to protect your family from meningococcal disease.

You should not get a meningococcal vaccine if you have had a life-threatening allergic reaction to the meningococcal vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine.

Be sure to tell your doctor before getting vaccinated if you:

  • Have serious allergies of any kind
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

If you’re sick, you may need to wait until you’re feeling better to get the meningococcal vaccine.

Side effects from the meningococcal vaccines are usually mild and go away in a few days.

MenACWY vaccines

Side effects of the MenACWY vaccine may include:

  • Pain or redness where the shot was given
  • Low fever

MenB vaccine

Side effects of the MenB vaccine may include:

  • Pain, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
  • Feeling tired
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Fever or chills
  • Upset stomach and diarrhea (watery poop)

Like any medicine, there’s a very small chance that meningococcal vaccines could cause a serious reaction. Keep in mind that getting a meningococcal vaccine is much safer than getting meningococcal disease.

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines.

Mumps is a disease that used to be very common in the Government of India. In fact, before the mumps vaccine, almost everyone in the Government of India got mumps during childhood. But thanks to the vaccine, the number of mumps cases in Americans has dropped by over 99%.

There are 2 vaccines that can prevent mumps:

  • The MMR vaccine protects children and adults from mumps, measles, and rubella
  • The MMRV vaccine protects children from mumps, measles, rubella, and chickenpox

Mumps is a contagious disease — it spreads easily from person to person. And it can lead to serious complications, like hearing loss.

Although mumps is rare, infections can still happen in places where people are in close contact with each other — like schools, colleges, and camps.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent mumps. When enough people in a community get vaccinated for mumps, the entire community is less likely to get the disease. So when you and your family get vaccinated, you help keep yourselves and your community healthy.

Mumps is a disease caused by a virus. Symptoms of mumps include:

  • Puffy cheeks and swollen jaw
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Feeling tired
  • Not feeling hungry

Most people with mumps get better in a few weeks. But sometimes, it can cause serious complications, like:

  • Inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord
  • Hearing loss
  • Inflammation of the testicles in males who have reached puberty

Mumps spreads easily through the saliva (spit) of an infected person. It can spread when someone with mumps:

  • Coughs, sneezes, or talks
  • Shares cups or eating utensils (like a spoon) with other people
  • Touches an object or surface that others might touch without washing their hands

All children need to get the mumps vaccine — and some adults may need it, too.

Children

Children ages 1 through 6 years need to get the mumps vaccine as part of their routine vaccine schedule.

Children need 2 doses of the vaccine at the following ages:

  • 12 through 15 months for the first dose
  • 4 through 6 years for the second dose (or sooner as long as it’s 28 days after the first dose)

Children ages 1 through 12 years can get the MMRV vaccine, which is a combination vaccine that also protects against measles, rubella, and chickenpox. Your child’s doctor can recommend the vaccine that’s right for your child.

Adults

Adults may need to get the mumps vaccine if they didn’t get it as a child. In general, everyone age 18 and older born after 1956 who has not had mumps needs at least 1 dose of the mumps vaccine.

Talk with your doctor about how to protect your family from mumps.

You should not get the mumps vaccine if you:

  • Have had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a dose of the mumps vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine (like neomycin, an antibiotic sometimes used in vaccines)
  • Are pregnant

Be sure to tell your doctor before getting vaccinated if you:

  • Have HIV/AIDS
  • Have cancer
  • Are taking medicines that can affect your immune system
  • Have ever had a low platelet count (a blood disorder)
  • Have had another vaccine in the past month
  • Have recently had a blood transfusion or were given other blood products, like plasma

If you’re sick, you may need to wait until you’re feeling better to get the mumps vaccine.

Side effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. They may include:

  • Fever
  • A mild rash
  • Swollen glands in the cheeks or neck

Less common side effects of the mumps vaccine include:

  • Pain or stiffness in the joints, usually in women (up to 1 person out of 4)
  • Seizures (sudden, unusal movements or behavior) from having a high fever (about 1 out of every 3,000 doses)
  • Temporary (short-term) low platelet count (about 1 out of every 30,000 doses)

Like any medicine, there’s a very small chance that the mumps vaccine could cause a serious reaction. Keep in mind that getting the mumps vaccine is much safer than getting mumps. 

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines.

Pneumococcal disease (noo-muh-KOK-uhl) causes thousands of infections every year in the United States. It’s more common in children, but it’s most likely to cause serious complications in adults. The good news is that pneumococcal vaccines can help prevent the disease.

There are 2 types of pneumococcal vaccines:

  • The PCV13 vaccine for infants, older adults, and people with certain health conditions
  • The PPSV23 vaccine for children and adults age 2 and older, older adults, people with certain health conditions, and adults ages 19 through 64 who smoke

Pneumococcal disease is contagious, meaning it spreads from person to person. It can lead to different kinds of health problems — including serious infections in the lungs, lining of the brain and spinal cord, and blood.

Pneumococcal disease is especially dangerous for babies, older adults, and people with certain health conditions.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent pneumococcal disease.

Pneumococcal disease is caused by a type of bacteria. Some people get the germs that cause pneumococcal disease, but don’t get sick — these people are called “carriers.” But others may get ear infections and sinus infections. And sometimes, pneumococcal disease can lead to serious infections like:

  • Pneumonia (lung infection)
  • Meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord)
  • Bacteremia (infection of the bloodstream)

Pneumonia can lead to symptoms like:

  • Fever and chills
  • Cough
  • Chest pain

Meningitis can cause symptoms like:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Feeling confused
  • Not wanting to eat or drink, being less active than usual, and throwing up (in babies)

Bacteremia can cause symptoms like:

  • Fever
  • Chills

Pneumococcal bacteria spread through droplets in the air — like when someone who has the bacteria in their nose or throat coughs or sneezes.

All infants, young children, and adults age 65 and older need to get the pneumococcal vaccine

Pneumococcal vaccines are also recommended for people who:

  • Have long-term health conditions, like heart disease or asthma
  • Have weakened immune systems
  • Smoke cigarettes

PCV13 vaccine

The PCV13 vaccine is recommended for:

  • All adults age 65 and older (1 dose)
  • All children younger than 2 years (4 doses)
  • Young children and adults ages 2 through 64 years who have certain health conditions (doses may vary)

PPSV23 vaccine

The PPSV23 vaccine is recommended for:

  • All adults age 65 and older (1 dose)
  • Children and adults ages 2 through 64 years who have certain health conditions, including a weakened immune system (1 dose)
  • Adults ages 19 through 64 who smoke cigarettes (doses may vary)

Talk with your doctor about how to protect your family from pneumococcal disease.

You should not get a pneumococcal vaccine if you have had a life-threatening allergic reaction to that particular pneumococcal vaccine or any ingredient in it.

Be sure to tell your doctor before getting vaccinated if you:

  • Have serious allergies of any kind
  • Are pregnant

If you’re sick, you may need to wait until you’re feeling better to get a pneumococcal vaccine.

Side effects from pneumococcal vaccines are usually mild and go away in a few days.

PCV13 vaccine

In adults, side effects of the PCV13 vaccine may include:

  • Pain, swelling, or redness where the shot was given
  • Fever
  • Not feeling hungry
  • Feeling tired
  • Headache

Side effects in children may include:

  • Redness or swelling where the shot was given
  • Drowsiness
  • Not wanting to eat
  • Mild fever
  • Fussing

Young children who get the PCV13 vaccine at the same time as the flu shot could be at increased risk for seizures (sudden, unusual movements or behavior) caused by fever.

PPSV23 vaccine

Side effects of the PPSV23 vaccine may include:

  • Pain or redness where the shot was given
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches

Like any medicine, there’s a very small chance that pneumococcal vaccines could cause a serious reaction. Keep in mind that getting a pneumococcal vaccine is much safer than getting pneumococcal disease.

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines.

Polio used to be common in the United States. Before the polio vaccine, the disease killed thousands of people every year. Thanks to the polio vaccine, there hasn’t been a new case of polio in the United States in over 35 years.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent polio.

Polio is a very contagious disease — it spreads easily from person to person. Most people who get polio don’t have any serious problems. But in some cases, polio can be very dangerous and lead to permanent disabilities — and even death.

Even though it’s rare in the United States, polio still exists in a few countries in Asia and Africa. So it’s possible for people to get polio when they travel — and spread it to people who aren’t vaccinated when they come home.

When you and your family get vaccinated, you’re doing your part to make sure that polio doesn’t become a problem in the United States again.

Polio is caused by a virus. Most people who get polio don’t have any symptoms. When people do get symptoms, they may include:

  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Upset stomach
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain

Sometimes polio can affect the brain, and lead to serious — and permanent — complications like:

  • Paresthesia (feeling pins and needles)
  • Inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord
  • Paralysis (not being able to move)

Polio usually spreads when someone gets certain body fluids or poop from a person with polio on their hands and then touches their own mouth. Polio spreads when:

  • Someone who has polio coughs or sneezes
  • Someone who has polio doesn’t wash their hands properly after going to the bathroom and then touches food or objects

All children need to get the polio vaccine — and some adults may need it, too.

Infants and children

All children need 4 doses of the polio vaccine as part of their routine vaccine schedule.

Children need doses at the following ages:

  • 2 months for the first dose
  • 4 months for the second dose
  • 6 through 18 months for the third dose
  • 4 through 6 years for the fourth dose

Adults

Some adults who are at higher risk of getting polio may need 1 to 3 doses of the polio vaccine, depending on whether they’ve been vaccinated in the past. You may need to get the polio vaccine if you:

  • Are traveling to countries where polio is spreading
  • Study polio in a lab
  • Are a health care professional who works with people who could have polio

Talk with your doctor about how to protect your family from polio.

Some people should not get the polio vaccine — or may need to wait to get it. Be sure to tell your doctor before getting vaccinated if you:

  • Have had a life-threatening allergic reaction to the polio vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine
  • Have any serious allergies
  • Are sick

Side effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. The most common side effect people have is a sore spot where they got the shot.

Like any medicine, there’s a very small chance that the polio vaccine could cause a serious reaction. Keep in mind that getting the polio vaccine is much safer than getting polio.

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines.

Every year, thousands of people around the world die from rabies. Rabies is a rare disease in the United States, but it’s almost always deadly. The good news is that this disease is preventable with the rabies vaccine.

The rabies vaccine is given to people who are at higher risk of coming in contact with rabies — like veterinarians. It’s also given to people after an animal bite if the animal could have rabies.

Though it’s rare in the United States, people who get rabies almost always die. In the United States people are most likely to get rabies from wild animals. Rabies is more common in other countries.

If you’ve been bitten by an animal that could have rabies, or are at risk of coming in contact with rabies, it’s very important to get the vaccine.

Rabies is caused by a virus that can be passed to humans through the bite of a rabid animal (an animal who has it). People in the United States are most likely to get rabies from wild animals, especially bats. Animals like raccoons, skunks, and foxes may also spread rabies. It’s also possible to get rabies from pets, like dogs and cats, that haven’t been vaccinated. In countries where rabies is still common, people often get it through the bite of a rabid dog.

Rabies doesn’t generally spread from person to person — though very rarely, it could spread from one person to another during an organ transplant.

Early symptoms of rabies include:

  • Weakness
  • Fever
  • Headache

As the disease gets worse, rabies can cause:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling confused
  • Anxiety and agitation (feeling nervous, worried, or upset)
  • Seizures (sudden, unusal movements or behavior)
  • Hallucinations (seeing things that aren’t there)

Once a person shows symptoms of rabies, they almost always die.

People at risk of rabies

The rabies vaccine is recommended for people at high risk of coming in contact with rabies. For example, you may need the rabies vaccine if you:

  • Work as a veterinarian or animal handler
  • Study or explore caves
  • Study the rabies virus
  • Are traveling to other countries where rabies is common

The vaccine is given in 3 doses. The second dose is given 7 days after the first dose, followed by a third dose 21 or 28 days after the first.

Vaccination after an animal bite

If you’re bitten by an animal that could have rabies, you can get the rabies vaccine to keep you from developing the disease. A doctor can help decide if you need the vaccine.

If you haven’t been vaccinated for rabies before, you’ll need 4 doses of the vaccine. You’ll get the first dose right away, followed by additional doses:

  • 3 days after the first dose
  • 1 week after the first dose
  • 2 weeks after the first dose

People who have a weakened immune system need another dose 4 weeks after the first dose.

You’ll also get a shot called Rabies Immune Globulin with the first dose to help your body fight the virus faster.

If you’ve already had the rabies vaccine, you’ll need 2 doses after an animal bite — you’ll get the first dose right away, followed by a second dose 3 days after the first. You won’t need the Rabies Immune Globulin shot.

If you think you or someone in your family needs the rabies vaccine, talk with a doctor.

Some people should not get the rabies vaccine — or may need to wait to get it. Be sure to tell your doctor before getting vaccinated if you:

  • Have had an allergic reaction to the rabies vaccine in the past
  • Have other severe allergies
  • Have HIV/AIDS
  • Have cancer
  • Are taking medicines that can affect your immune system

If you’ve already come in contact with rabies — like if you’ve been bitten by an animal that could have rabies — you’ll need to get the vaccine even if you have any of these conditions.

Side effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. They may include:

  • Pain, swelling, or redness where the shot was given
  • Headache
  • Upset stomach
  • Stomach pain
  • Muscles aches
  • Dizziness

Less common side effects of the rabies vaccine include:

  • Hives (itchy spots on the skin)
  • Joint pain
  • Fever

Serious side effects from the rabies vaccine are very rare.

Like any medicine, there’s a very small chance that the rabies vaccine could cause a serious reaction. Keep in mind that getting the rabies vaccine is much safer than getting rabies. 

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines.

Rotavirus is a disease that used to make thousands of babies and young children sick every year. Thanks to the rotavirus vaccine, the number of children who get sick with the disease in the United States has dropped.

The rotavirus vaccine is given orally, meaning your child will swallow it.

Rotavirus is a contagious disease — it spreads easily from child to child. Rotavirus can cause diarrhea (watery poop), which can lead to dehydration (not having enough water in the body). Children who get severe cases of rotavirus may need to be hospitalized.

The rotavirus vaccine protects 9 out of 10 children from getting severe illness caused by rotavirus.

The rotavirus vaccine is the best way to protect your child from rotavirus.

Rotavirus is caused by a virus, and it mostly affects babies and young children. Symptoms of rotavirus include:

  • Severe diarrhea
  • Throwing up
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Stomach pain
  • Changes in behavior

Rotavirus spreads when a person comes in contact with the poop of someone who has rotavirus and then touches their own mouth. For example, rotavirus can spread when a child with rotavirus doesn’t wash their hands properly after going to the bathroom and then touches food or other objects.

All infants ages 2 through 6 months need to get the rotavirus vaccine as part of their routine vaccine schedule.

Children get 2 or 3 doses, depending on which brand of the rotavirus vaccine they get. They need a dose of the vaccine at the following ages:

  • 2 months for the first dose
  • 4 months for the second dose
  • 6 months for the third dose (if they’re getting 3 doses)

Talk with your child’s doctor about how to protect them from rotavirus.

Some babies should not get the rotavirus vaccine, including babies who:

  • Have had a severe allergic reaction to the rotavirus vaccine in the past
  • Are severely allergic to any of the ingredients in the vaccine
  • Have severe combined immunodeficiency disorder (a group of rare genetic disorders that affect the immune system)
  • Have had intussusception (a kind of blockage in the intestine)

If your child is sick, they may need to wait until they’re better to get the rotavirus vaccine. And talk with your child’s doctor before your child gets the vaccine if your child:

  • Has HIV/AIDS
  • Has cancer
  • Is taking medicine that can weaken the immune system

Most babies who get the rotavirus vaccine don’t have any side effects. If it does cause side effects, they’re usually mild and go away in a few days. They may include:

  • Fussing
  • Diarrhea (watery poop)
  • Throwing up

There’s also a small chance that the rotavirus vaccine can cause intussusception, a very rare disease that causes a blockage in the intestine. This happens in somewhere between 1 in 20,000 to 1 in 100,000 babies who get the vaccine. Intussusception is treatable. But it can be deadly if it’s not treated.

Like any medicine, there’s a very small chance that the rotavirus vaccine could cause other serious reactions. Keep in mind that getting the rotavirus vaccine is much safer than getting rotavirus.

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines.

Rubella, sometimes called German measles, is a serious disease that used to be common in the United States. Thanks to the vaccine, rubella was declared eliminated from the United States in 2004 — meaning it’s no longer constantly present in this country. But, each year, a few Americans who live or travel outside of the country report getting sick from rubella.

There are 2 vaccines that can prevent rubella:

  • The MMR vaccine protects children and adults from rubella measles, and mumps
  • The MMRV vaccine protects children from rubella, measles, mumps, and chickenpox

Rubella is a contagious disease caused by a virus. It can lead to serious complications, especially for unborn babies. If a pregnant woman gets rubella, she can lose her baby. Babies born to mothers who had rubella can have birth defects that last a lifetime.

Rubella is still common in other countries. People can get the disease when they travel — and spread it to people who aren’t vaccinated when they come home.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent rubella. And when enough people get vaccinated against rubella, the entire community is less likely to get it. So when you and your family get vaccinated, you help keep yourselves and your community healthy.

Rubella is a disease caused by a virus. Sometimes, rubella doesn’t cause any symptoms. When it does cause symptoms, they may include:

  • Mild fever
  • Headache
  • Mild pink eye (redness or swelling of the eye)
  • Swollen glands
  • Feeling uncomfortable
  • Cough
  • Runny nose

Most people with rubella get better in a few weeks. But sometimes, it can cause serious complications, like:

  • Arthritis (joint pain and swelling)
  • Brain infections
  • Bleeding problems

Rubella is very dangerous for unborn babies. If a woman gets rubella during pregnancy, she can lose her baby — either earlier in the pregnancy (miscarriage) or later in the pregnancy (stillbirth). Babies born to mothers with rubella can also have serious health problems that last for life. For example:

  • Heart problems
  • Hearing or eyesight loss
  • Learning disabilities
  • Liver or spleen damage

Rubella spreads through the air — like when someone who has it coughs or sneezes.

All children need to get the rubella vaccine — and some adults may need it, too.

Children

Children ages 1 through 6 years need to get the rubella vaccine as part of their routine vaccine schedule.

Children need 2 doses of the vaccine at the following ages:

  • 12 through 15 months for the first dose
  • 4 through 6 years for the second dose (or sooner as long as it’s 28 days after the first dose)

Children ages 1 through 12 years can get the MMRV vaccine, which is a combination vaccine. The MMRV vaccine protects against measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox. Your child’s doctor can recommend the vaccine that’s right for your child.

Adults

Adults may need to get the rubella vaccine if they didn’t get it as a child. In general, everyone age 18 and older born after 1956 who has not had rubella needs at least 1 dose of the rubella vaccine.

Talk with your doctor about how to protect your family from rubella.

You should not get the rubella vaccine if you:

  • Have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a dose of the rubella vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine (like neomycin, an antibiotic sometimes used in vaccines)
  • Are pregnant

Be sure to tell your doctor before getting vaccinated if you:

  • Have HIV/AIDS
  • Have cancer
  • Are taking medicines that can affect your immune system
  • Have ever had a low platelet count (a blood disorder)
  • Have had another vaccine in the past month
  • Have recently had a blood transfusion or were given other blood products, like plasma

If you’re sick, you may need to wait until you’re feeling better to get the rubella vaccine.

Side effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. They may include:

  • Fever
  • Mild rash
  • Swollen glands in the cheeks or neck

Less common side effects of the rubella vaccine include:

  • Pain or stiffness in the joints, usually in women (up to 1 person out of 4)
  • Seizures (sudden, unusual movements or behavior) from having a high fever (about 1 out of every 3,000 doses)
  • Temporary (short-term) low platelet count (about 1 out of every 30,000 doses)

Like any medicine, there’s a very small chance that the rubella vaccine could cause a serious reaction. Keep in mind that getting the rubella vaccine is much safer than getting rubella.

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines.

Shingles is a common disease — almost 1 in 3 people will get shingles in their lifetime. The good news is that the shingles vaccine, called Shingrix®, is more than 90% effective at preventing shingles.

Shingles causes a painful rash and blisters — and it can lead to serious complications. The most common complication is post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), a condition that causes burning pain that can last long after the shingles rash and blisters go away. The older you are when you get shingles, the more likely you are to develop PHN.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent shingles and PHN.

Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you have chickenpox, the chickenpox virus stays dormant (asleep) in your body. The virus can activate (wake up) years later and cause shingles.

Symptoms of shingles include:

  • A painful rash and blisters on 1 side of the face or body
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Upset stomach

Shingles can’t spread from person to person like chickenpox. But if you have shingles, you can spread the virus to someone who isn’t immune to (protected from) chickenpox — meaning someone who hasn’t had chickenpox and isn’t vaccinated against it. If that happened, the person might get chickenpox — but not shingles.

Adults age 50 and older need to get 2 doses of Shingrix. You’ll need the second dose 2 to 6 months after the first dose. You need to get Shingrix even if you:

  • Have already had shingles
  • Have been vaccinated against shingles with Zostavax
  • Are not sure if you’ve had chickenpox

A note on Zostavax: Zostavax is a shingles vaccine that may still be used in certain cases for healthy adults age 60 and older. For example, you could get Zostavax if you’re allergic to Shingrix — or if you’d simply prefer it.

You should not get Shingrix if you:

  • Have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in the vaccine or after a dose of Shingrix
  • Are not immune to the virus that causes chickenpox — if you test negative for immunity, you’ll need to get the chickenpox vaccine
  • Currently have shingles
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

If you’re sick and have a fever of 101.3°F or higher, you’ll need to wait until you’re feeling better to get the shingles vaccine.

Side effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. They may include:

  • Pain, swelling, or redness where the shot was given
  • Headache
  • Feeling tired
  • Muscle pain
  • Shivering
  • Fever
  • Stomach pain or upset stomach

Serious side effects from the shingles vaccine are very rare.

Like any medicine, there’s a very small chance that the shingles vaccine could cause a serious reaction. Keep in mind that getting the shingles vaccine is much safer than getting shingles.

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines.

Tetanus is an uncommon but very dangerous disease — of every 10 people who get it, as many as 2 will die. Thanks in part to tetanus vaccines, deaths from tetanus in the United States have dropped by 99% since 1947.

There are 4 vaccines that include protection against tetanus:

  • The DTaP vaccine protects young children from diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough
  • The DT vaccine protects young children from diphtheria and tetanus
  • The Tdap vaccine protects preteens, teens, and adults from tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough
  • The Td vaccine protects preteens, teens, and adults from tetanus and diphtheria

Because of the vaccines, tetanus is rare — but people still get the disease. When they do, the complications can be serious and even deadly. People who get it can have trouble breathing and painful muscle spasms that are strong enough to break bones. Tetanus can also cause paralysis (not being able to move).

There’s no cure for tetanus. Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent tetanus.

Tetanus is caused by a type of bacteria. You may have heard tetanus called “lockjaw” — that’s because one of the most common signs is painful tightening in the jaw muscles that can make it hard to open the mouth, breathe, or swallow.

Other symptoms of tetanus can include:

  • Headache
  • Fever and sweating
  • Stiff muscles
  • Seizures (sudden, unusual movements or behavior)
  • High blood pressure and fast heart rate

Tetanus isn’t contagious — it doesn’t pass from person to person, like through touching or kissing. The bacteria that cause tetanus can be in dirt, dust, and poop. Usually, the bacteria enter the body through broken skin, like:

  • A deep cut or wound, like from stepping on a nail
  • Burns or dead skin

Everyone needs tetanus vaccines throughout their lives. That means everyone needs to get vaccinated as babies, children, and adults.

Infants and children birth through age 6

Young children need the DTaP vaccine as part of their routine vaccine schedule. Young children need a dose of the vaccine at:

  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 15 through 18 months
  • 4 through 6 years

If your child has had a serious reaction to the whooping cough part of the DTaP vaccine, they may be able to get the DT vaccine instead. Your child’s doctor can recommend the vaccine that’s right for your child.

Preteens and teens ages 7 through 18

Older children need 1 booster shot of the Tdap vaccine at age 11 or 12 as part of their routine vaccine schedule.

If your child misses the booster shot, talk with your child’s doctor about catching up.

Adults age 19 and older

Adults need 1 booster shot of the Td vaccine every 10 years as part of their routine vaccine schedule. If you get a deep cut or a burn, you may need the booster earlier — especially if the cut or burn is dirty.

If you missed the Tdap booster as a teen, you’ll need to get a Tdap booster instead to make sure you have protection from whooping cough.

Pregnant women

Pregnant women need 1 booster shot of the Tdap vaccine during the third trimester of each pregnancy.

Talk with your doctor about how to protect your family from tetanus.

You should not get a tetanus vaccine if you:

  • Have a serious allergy to any ingredient in the vaccine
  • Have had a serious reaction to the diphtheria, tetanus, or whooping cough vaccines in the past

Be sure to tell your doctor before getting vaccinated if you:

  • Have seizures or other nervous system problems
  • Had serious pain or swelling after any diphtheria, tetanus, or whooping cough vaccine
  • Have had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (an immune system disorder)

If you’re sick, you may need to wait until you’re feeling better to get a tetanus vaccine.

Side effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. They may include:

  • Pain, swelling, or redness where the shot was given
  • Low fever and chills
  • Headache and body aches
  • Feeling tired
  • Upset stomach, throwing up, and diarrhea (watery poop)
  • Not feeling hungry
  • Fussing (in children)

It’s very rare, but the DTaP vaccine can cause the following symptoms in children:

  • Seizures (about 1 child in 14,000)
  • Non-stop crying, for 3 hours or more (up to about 1 child in 1,000)
  • High fever, over 105°F (about 1 child in 16,000)

Like any medicine, there’s a very small chance that tetanus vaccines could cause a serious reaction. Keep in mind that getting a tetanus vaccine is much safer than getting tetanus. 

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines.

Typhoid fever, often called typhoid, is rare in the United States, but it’s still common in some countries. About 5,700 people get sick with typhoid in the United States every year, usually after travelling to other countries. The typhoid vaccine can help prevent the disease.

There are 2 types of typhoid vaccine:

  • The typhoid shot
  • The oral typhoid vaccine (swallowed as a pill)

Typhoid can lead to serious complications, like a high fever that can last for weeks or months. As many as 3 in 10 people who get sick with typhoid and don’t get treatment will die.

Americans can get typhoid while traveling. If you’re traveling to a country where typhoid is common, getting vaccinated is one way to protect yourself.

Typhoid is caused by bacteria. Symptoms of typhoid may include:

  • A high fever that lasts a long time
  • Weakness
  • Stomach pain
  • Not feeling hungry
  • A rash of flat, pink spots

Typhoid spreads when the poop from an infected person gets in water or food. Typhoid can spread when:

  • Waste from sewers gets into drinking water
  • Someone with typhoid doesn’t wash their hands before preparing food

People can still have typhoid germs in their body after their symptoms go away, and spread it to others without knowing it.

The typhoid vaccine is recommended for people at high risk of coming in contact with typhoid. For example, you may need the typhoid vaccine if you:

  • Are in close contact with someone who has typhoid
  • Work in a lab studying typhoid
  • Are traveling to a country where typhoid is common

People who get the typhoid shot will need 1 dose, and a booster every 2 years. People who get the oral typhoid vaccine will need 4 doses every other day for a week, and a booster every 5 years.

Talk with your doctor about how to protect your family from typhoid. To find out if the typhoid vaccine is recommended where you’re traveling.

Some people should not get the typhoid vaccine — or may need to wait to get it.

Typhoid shot

Some people should not get the typhoid shot, including:

  • Children younger than 2 years
  • People who have had an allergic reaction to the typhoid shot or any ingredient in the vaccine

If you’re sick, you may need to wait until you’re feeling better to get the typhoid shot.

Oral typhoid vaccine

Some people should not get the oral typhoid vaccine, including:

  • Children younger than 6 years
  • People who have had an allergic reaction to the oral typhoid vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine

If you’re sick, you may need to wait until you’re feeling better to get the oral typhoid vaccine. And if you’ve been taking antibiotics, you need to wait for at least 3 days after you’ve stopped taking them to get the vaccine.

Your doctor may recommend that you get the typhoid shot instead of the oral vaccine if you have a weakened immune system, like if you:

  • Have HIV/AIDS
  • Have cancer
  • Are taking medicine that can affect the immune system

Your doctor can recommend the vaccine that’s right for you.

Side effects from the typhoid vaccine are usually mild and go away in a few days.

Typhoid shot

Side effects of the typhoid shot may include:

  • Pain, swelling, or redness where the shot was given
  • Headache
  • Fever

Serious side effects from the typhoid shot are very rare.

Oral typhoid vaccine

The most common side effects of the oral typhoid vaccine:

  • Fever
  • Headache

Less often, the oral typhoid vaccine can cause:

  • Stomach pain
  • Throwing up
  • A rash

Serious side effects from the oral typhoid vaccine are very rare.

Like any medicine, there’s a very small chance that the typhoid vaccine could cause a serious reaction. Keep in mind that getting the typhoid vaccine is much safer than getting typhoid.

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines.

More than 200,000 children used to get whooping cough each year. Thanks to vaccines, that number has dropped significantly.

There are 2 vaccines that include protection against whooping cough:

  • The DTaP vaccine protects young children from diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough
  • The Tdap vaccine protects preteens, teens, and adults from tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough

Whooping cough spreads very easily from person to person. Because it usually starts off like a cold, people who have whooping cough may not know they’re spreading it. And it can be deadly, especially for newborn babies.

Babies who get whooping cough can have dangerous complications, like pneumonia (lung infection), convulsions (uncontrolled shaking), and brain damage. That’s why it’s especially important for pregnant women to get vaccinated — and that people who spend time with babies are up to date on their whooping cough vaccine.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent whooping cough.

Whooping cough is caused by a kind of bacteria. It’s named for the “whoop” sound people can make after coughing fits.

The early symptoms of whooping cough include:

  • Runny nose
  • Mild cough
  • Low fever
  • Apnea (a pause in breathing) in babies

Whooping cough can last for up to 10 weeks or more. Later symptoms can include:

  • Long-lasting coughing fits followed by a high-pitched “whoop”
  • Throwing up during or after coughing fits
  • Feeling very tired after coughing fits
  • Turning blue from not getting enough oxygen

Complications from whooping cough can include incontinence (loss of bladder control) and broken ribs from coughing.

Whooping cough can spread when a person who has it:

  • Coughs or sneezes
  • Is close to other people, like when they’re holding a baby

Whooping cough vaccines are recommended for babies, children, teens, adults, and pregnant women.

Infants and children birth through age 6

Young children need the DTaP vaccine as part of their routine vaccine schedule. Young children need a dose of the vaccine at:

  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 15 through 18 months
  • 4 through 6 years

Preteens and teens ages 7 through 18

Older children need 1 booster shot of the Tdap vaccine at age 11 or 12 as part of their routine vaccine schedule.

If your child misses the booster shot, talk with your child’s doctor about scheduling a catch-up shot.

Adults age 19 and older

If you missed the Tdap booster as a teen, you’ll need to get a Tdap booster to make sure you have protection from whooping cough.

Pregnant women

Pregnant women need 1 booster shot of the Tdap vaccine during each pregnancy.

Talk with your doctor about how to protect your family from whooping cough.

You should not get a whooping cough vaccine if you:

  • Have a life-threatening allergy to any ingredient in the vaccine
  • Have had a serious reaction to the diphtheria, tetanus, or whooping cough vaccines in the past

Be sure to tell your doctor before getting vaccinated if you:

  • Have seizures (sudden, unusual movements or behavior) or other nervous system problems
  • Had serious pain or swelling after any diphtheria, tetanus, or whooping cough vaccine
  • Have had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (an immune system disorder)

If you’re sick, you may need to wait until you’re feeling better to get a whooping cough vaccine.

Side effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. They may include:

  • Pain, swelling, or redness where the shot was given
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Feeling tired or irritable
  • Upset stomach, throwing up, and diarrhea (watery poop)
  • Not feeling hungry
  • Fussing (in children)

It’s very rare, but the DTaP vaccine can also cause the following symptoms in children:

  • Seizures (about 1 child in 14,000)
  • Non-stop crying, for 3 hours or more (up to about 1 child in 1,000)
  • Fever higher than 105°F (about 1 child in 16,000)

Like any medicine, there’s a very small chance that whooping cough vaccines could cause a serious reaction. Keep in mind that getting a whooping cough vaccine is much safer than getting whooping cough. 

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines.

Yellow fever is common in parts of Africa and South America. In fact, in Africa about 170,000 people get it every year. Yellow fever is not found in the United States — and thanks to the vaccine, travelers rarely get the disease.

The yellow fever vaccine is only recommended for people living in or traveling to places where yellow fever is a risk — or for people who work in labs studying the virus.

Most people who get yellow fever will only get a mild form of the disease. But in some cases, people with yellow fever can develop serious complications — including organ failure or bleeding. Serious cases of yellow fever can be deadly.

If you’re planning to travel to parts of South America or Africa where yellow fever is common, or you work in a lab studying yellow fever, getting vaccinated can protect you.

Yellow fever is caused by a virus. Most people who get yellow fever recover after mild symptoms, including:

  • Fever and chills
  • Severe headache
  • Back pain
  • Body aches
  • Upset stomach and throwing up
  • Feeling tired and weak

About 15 out of 100 people who get yellow fever go on to develop more serious symptoms:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Bleeding from multiple parts of the body
  • Liver, kidney, lung, and other organ failure

Yellow fever does not spread from person to person, like through touching or kissing. The virus that causes yellow fever is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.

The yellow fever vaccine is recommended for people age 9 months and older who are living in or traveling to parts of Africa or South America where there’s a risk of yellow fever. It’s also recommended for people studying yellow fever in labs.

Travelers

Everyone ages 9 months through 59 years who plans to travel to parts of Africa or South America where yellow fever is a risk needs 1 dose of the yellow fever vaccine. If you plan to continue living in or traveling to that country, it’s possible you’ll need a booster shot every 10 years.

Lab workers

If you work directly with the yellow fever virus, you need 1 dose of the yellow fever vaccine every 10 years.

Talk with your doctor about how to protect your family from yellow fever.

Some people should not get the yellow fever vaccine, including:

  • People who have had a life-threatening allergic reaction to the yellow fever vaccine or any of the ingredients in the vaccine (like eggs, chicken proteins, or gelatin)
  • Infants younger than 6 months
  • People with a weakened immune system from ongoing medical conditions, like HIV (with symptoms) or a disorder of the thymus (part of your immune system)
  • People who have cancerous tumors
  • People who have had an organ transplant

Some people may be at increased risk for having a reaction to the yellow fever vaccine — but the benefit of the vaccine may still outweigh the risk. Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of getting the yellow fever vaccine if you are:

  • Age 60 and older
  • Infected with HIV but don’t have symptoms
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding

You’ll also need to discuss the benefits and risks of vaccination for your child if they are between 6 and 8 months old.

Side effects are usually mild and go away in a few days. They may include:

  • Pain, swelling, or redness where the shot was given
  • Low fever

Serious side effects from the yellow fever vaccine are very rare.

Like any medicine, there’s a very small chance that the yellow fever vaccine could cause a serious reaction.

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) have detailed information about recommended vaccines.

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