Health United States 2020-2021

Vaccination

The process of using a vaccine to stimulate the immune system to provide protection against a disease. For more information about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases, see: https://www.vaccines.gov and https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html.

The currently recommended childhood vaccination schedule includes vaccines that prevent infectious diseases including hepatitis A and B, rotavirus, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), polio, varicella (chicken pox), some forms of meningitis (Haemophilus influenzae type b), influenza, and pneumococcal disease.

In 2006, a quadrivalent vaccine that protected against four types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause cervical cancers and genital warts was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The vaccine was recommended for females aged 11 and 12 years and females aged 13–26 years who had not yet been vaccinated or completed the vaccine series. In 2011, HPV vaccination was recommended also for males aged 11 and 12 years. A new vaccine that protects against nine types of HPV that can cause cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and anal cancers, as well genital warts, was approved by FDA in 2014 for both females and males. Starting in 2016, HPV vaccination was reported for males and females combined and separately. A measure of fully vaccinated against HPV (also called up-to-date) was added to assess completion of the HPV vaccine series (two doses separated by 5 months [minus 4 days] for immunocompetent adolescents initiating the HPV vaccine series before their 15th birthday, and three doses for all others). More information is available from: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/iis/interop-proj/downloads/logic-spec-acip-rec-4.3.pdf. In addition to HPV vaccination, Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) and meningococcal (MenACWY) vaccination is recommended for adolescents aged 11 and 12 years. At age 16 years, a booster dose of MenACWY is recommended. People aged 16–23 years can receive serogroup B meningococcal vaccine (MenB), if deemed appropriate through shared clinical decision-making.

In addition to keeping current with the vaccines listed above and annual influenza vaccination, some additional vaccinations are recommended for older adults, people with specific health conditions, and health care workers who are likely to be exposed to infectious people. For example, herpes zoster vaccination is recommended for adults aged 50 and over, and pneumococcal vaccination is recommended for adults aged 65 and over and people with specific health conditions. For a full discussion of recommended vaccination schedules by age and population, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccination and immunization website at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html.

Page last reviewed: August 12, 2022