Immunization

Vaccines are the best way to prevent serious illness and death from many infectious diseases. Vaccines protect people by preparing their immune systems to recognize and fight these diseases. Vaccines also protect communities by reducing the spread of illness.

The Food and Drug Administration adheres to rigorous testing standards before licensing vaccines to ensure their safety. Leaders in the fields of medicine and public health recommend vaccines for children, adolescents, and adults to prevent disease.

What you should do

Parents

Make sure that your children are up-to-date on all recommended vaccinations infants and children preteens and teens. Ask your children’s pediatricians about vaccinations at each visit.

Children without doctors who are uninsured can be vaccinated at St. Joseph Center for Health and Human Services. Older children can also be immunized through Vaccinate Before You Graduate, a catch-up program run at Rhode Island high schools.

Adults

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. Talk to your healthcare providers or review the adult schedule of recommended immunizations to know what immunizations you need.

Travelers

If you are planning to travel outside of the United States can receive recommended vaccines at travel clinics.

People who will be in contact with infants

Adults and adolescents who will be around infants should 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.

What we are doing

Rhode Island provides healthcare providers with all of the vaccines that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommend that children receive through 18 years of age. Rhode Island also providers healthcare providers with all recommended vaccines for adults. 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.

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