Immunizations –

Vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective, and save lives. They are an important part of everyone’s health: babies and toddlers, school-aged children, teens and pre-teens, pregnant women, adults and seniors. To protect public health, the AAFP strongly recommends that patients receive all necessary vaccinations at their primary care physician’s office.

Path to better well-being

Each year, the AAFP and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices collaborate to develop recommendations for the routine use of vaccines in children, adolescents, and adults in the United States. Below is a collection of resources from You’ll find information about vaccination schedules, specific vaccines, and more to help you and your family stay healthy.

Vaccines are safe, effective and save lives

Check out the following resources to keep you and your family safe from highly preventable diseases and conditions:

Things to consider

There is evidence that childhood vaccines does not cause autism. In fact, the benefits of vaccines outweigh their side effects. Side effects usually include mild pain and tenderness at the injection site. The pain can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers and a cold compress.

Vaccines are required for many activities. Not having the right vaccine can interfere with your plans. These cases include school and travel.

Parents with school-age children should make sure their children are up to date on immunizations before the new school year begins. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), national coverage with state-required vaccines decreased among kindergarten students by 2% between 2020 and 2022. An additional 4.4% of Kindergarten children without an approved exemption had their measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine expired. COVID-19-related disruptions affected vaccination coverage, but coverage has not returned to pre-pandemic numbers since in-person learning resumed.

When vaccination rates decline, cases of preventable diseases increase. This has been happening in recent years with measles. As of July 7, 2023, the CDC has been notified of 18 confirmed cases in 12 US jurisdictions. That may not seem like much, but compare that to just 3 cases during the same period in 2022. By the end of 2022, there were 121 cases. Almost all of those cases could have been prevented with vaccines. The CDC urges all US residents to make sure they are up to date on their MMR vaccination, especially before traveling abroad.

Talk to your doctor about any health problems you currently have and the impact of the vaccine on that problem. This may include telling your doctor if you have a cold or flu.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • What vaccines does my child need before starting school?
  • Can I delay a vaccine?
  • Can I get a disease after receiving the vaccine?
  • Is my newborn at risk for certain diseases if he or she is not old enough to receive certain vaccines?
  • Which vaccines are safe to receive at the same time?
  • How do I know if I received certain vaccines as a child if I don’t have the records?
  • What is the research on vaccines and autism?


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: vaccination schedules

Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians

This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your primary care doctor to find out if this information applies to you and for more information on this topic.

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