Immunization Information for Parents

The immunizations that babies receive (also known as "baby shots") can protect them from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccines protect babies by providing them with immunity before they are exposed to these diseases. In some instances, babies are protected from a disease by receiving more than one dose of the same vaccine.

A schedule is available to help parents know which shots their babies need at what ages. The vaccines on this schedule, and the schedule as a whole, are held to the highest standards of safety. Parents who spread out shots or who don't follow the schedule are putting their children at risk of developing a disease during the time that shots are delayed.

Children should receive additional immunizations through childhood, adolescence, and their teenage years. This includes getting a flu shot every year. Many of these additional immunizations are required for entry into pre-school and school in Rhode Island.

If you have questions about the immunizations your child is receiving or should be receiving, talk to your child's pediatrician.

What you should do

  • Ask your child's pediatrician about immunizations at every visit.
  • Make sure your infant is vaccinated according to the infant immunization schedule.
  • Find out how to comfort your baby during and after immunizations.
  • Make sure that your child is immunized according to the immunization schedules for children, adolescents, and teenagers.
  • Make sure your child meets the immunization requirements for pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and seventh grade.
  • Learn about Vaccinate Before You Graduate. Vaccinate Before you Graduate is a program that helps high school students catch-up on vaccinations that they missed. Vaccinations are free-of-charge through this program. (more)

What to expect after your child gets a shot

Children may experience a low-grade fever, fussiness, or soreness at the site of a shot. Serious side effects are rare. Talk to your child's pediatrician about any concerns you have. (more)

Cost

In Rhode Island, the Childhood Immunization Program provides all recommended vaccines for all children (birth to age 18) at no cost. Depending on your health insurance, you may have to pay a small fee for the administration of the vaccine. If you do not have health insurance or a regular doctor, your child can get immunized at St. Joseph Center for Health and Human Services.