The Rhode Island Department of Health works with healthcare providers and other partners throughout the state to immunize children, adolescents, and adults against vaccine preventable diseases. Immunization recommendations are based on age (infants and children preteens and teens adults).
The Department's Immunize for Life initiative includes Vaccine Before You Graduate, the Childhood Immunization Program, and the Adult Immunization Program (healthcare providers can now enroll to provide vaccine).
Children without doctors or children who are uninsured can be vaccinated at St. Joseph Center for Health and Human Services. Older children can also be immunized at school through Vaccinate Before You Graduate.
The immunizations needed by adults are determined by several factors. These include age, lifestyle, how healthy the adult is, and the adult’s immunization history. Adults should talk with their healthcare providers or review the adult schedule of recommended immunizations to know what immunizations they need. Adults planning to travel outside of the United States can receive recommended vaccines at travel clinics.
Doctors recommend that adults and adolescents who will be around infants be vaccinated with a single dose of Tdap. This could include parents, siblings, grandparents, babysitters, and other child care providers. Tdap protects against, among other diseases, pertussis. Infants are too young to be fully immunized against pertussis, but an infant's exposure to the illness can be reduced if he or she only comes into contact with people who are vaccinated. This practice is called cocooning.
Rhode Island provides healthcare providers with all of the vaccines that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that children receive through 18 years of age. Rhode Island also providers healthcare providers with three vaccines for adults: flu vaccine, pneumonia vaccine, and tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine. Although some healthcare providers may charge patients small fees for the administration of vaccine, Rhode Island gives these vaccines to healthcare providers free of charge.
Additionally, the Rhode Island Department of Health works with mass vaccinators, schools, healthcare providers, and many others to make vaccine available at community clinics.