Reduce the Risk of Infectious Diseases

Vaccinations are an essential part of your regular care. They safely boost your body’s ability to protect you from infectious diseases and keep you healthy.

Everyone from infants to older adults should stay up to date on their vaccinations for protection against diseases like:

  • Chickenpox
  • COVID-19
  • Diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis) - (DTaP/Tdap vaccines)
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • HPV
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
  • Meningococcal
  • Pneumococcal 
  • Polio
  • Rotavirus
  • RSV
  • Shingles

During a wellness visit, your provider will make sure you have the recommended vaccinations based on your age and lifestyle.

View Vaccination Schedule

Stay Up to Date on Your Vaccinations

Go to My Sanford Chart. Select the Schedule an Appointment button under the Find Care menu. Then select the option to schedule a vaccine visit.

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Sanford Health offers vaccinations at clinics near you so you don't have to travel for care.

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Why are Vaccines Important?

Staying up to date on your vaccinations is important for protecting you and those around you from infectious diseases. Vaccines have different ways they protect your health. Some vaccinations can protect you from cancer, such as the HPV vaccine. Others can keep you from getting sick or reduce or eliminate your symptoms, such as the flu or COVID-19 vaccine.

For example, receiving the chickenpox vaccine at 12 months old can help reduce your chances of getting shingles later in life. Following the recommended immunization schedule helps you maintain your health as you age. If you are traveling internationally, you may need specific vaccinations to keep you protected from diseases that may not be common in the U.S. but are still common in other countries.

Are Vaccines Safe?

Like all medications, there are regulatory systems to ensure vaccines are safe. Vaccines must be tested and pre-approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they are administered. The active ingredient in all vaccines is an antigen, which causes the immune system to make antibodies. The antigen could include a partial, weakened or dead form of the disease-causing virus or bacteria. Newer vaccines, such as COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, contain the blueprint for producing antigens instead of the active ingredient itself.

How do Vaccines Work?

Many vaccines work by injecting weakened or killed bacteria or viruses into the body. They show your body’s immune system how to fight the disease and produce antibodies without getting you sick.

Immunity takes time to develop, so you may become infected in the weeks following vaccination. A vaccinated person is far less likely to become seriously ill even if they become infected. Many vaccines require more than one dose.

Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines don’t include viruses or bacteria. They work by delivering a message to your cells that teaches them how to recognize a disease and fight it off.

Different vaccines are recommended for infants, children, teenagers and adults. View vaccination schedules below.

Immunization and Vaccination FAQs

Who should get vaccinated?

There are recommended vaccines for babies, children, teens and adults, including those who are pregnant. Talk to your primary care provider about which vaccines are recommended for you based on your age, health history and lifestyle.

Most often, you get vaccines:

  • During infancy and childhood
  • During pregnancy
  • Over the age of 50, when you’re at higher risk for certain diseases
  • When traveling to an area where certain illnesses are more common
  • To maintain your immunity, such as through boosters
  • Seasonally, such as the annual flu shot

Are vaccines effective?

Vaccinations offer protection from serious, life-threatening diseases, however, they don’t always prevent you from getting sick. Vaccinations also take time to build immunity in your body, so there is a chance that you could contract an illness after getting vaccinated, but the severity of symptoms is reduced. For some people, their immune system may not develop a strong or long-lasting response to vaccinations.

What are the most common vaccine side effects?

Side effects vary by vaccine, and most are minor, including a sore arm, low-grade fever, headache, tiredness and loss of appetite. Talk to your provider about any past reactions or concerns you have about potential side effects.

Do I need to get vaccinated for infectious diseases that are no longer common?

Yes. Though not common in the U.S., these diseases persist around the world. If you meet someone who has been exposed, you are at risk for contracting illness if you haven’t been vaccinated. By staying up to date on recommended vaccinations, you can protect yourself from contagious, life-threatening diseases.

Are vaccines covered by insurance?

Sanford Health accepts most insurance coverage.

Under the Affordable Care Act, health plans must cover standard vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. This includes vaccinations from routine childhood immunizations to updated tetanus shots for adults.

The Vaccines for Children program also provides vaccines to children at no cost. This federally funded initiative helps children who may not have access to vaccinations because of an inability to pay. State programs vary for those who are uninsured or who have limited coverage.

How can I receive a copy of my immunization records?

Contact your primary care provider for your vaccination records. If you have received vaccinations at multiple clinics, contact your state’s health department.

Do vaccines cause autism?

No. Vaccines do not cause autism and there is no evidence to support this connection. There was a study in the late 1990s that linked the MMR vaccine to autism, which has since been discredited.

HPV and RSV Vaccines

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

What is HPV?
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of more than 200 related viruses. It’s the most common STI in the U.S. with 85% of people getting HPV in their lifetime.

More than 40% of HPV cancers occur among men. Nine out of every 10 cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV.

The HPV vaccine has the potential to prevent more than 90% of cancers caused by HPV. Since its introduction, there has been a decrease in HPV infections, genital warts and cervical pre-cancers.

Does HPV go away on its own?
For most people, HPV clears up on its own. For others, the virus can linger and cause complications.

Who should get the HPV vaccine?
The HPV vaccine series is recommended for everyone starting between the ages of 9 and 12. If anyone ages 13 through 26 hasn’t been fully vaccinated yet, they should get the HPV vaccine. For those between the ages of 27 and 45 who aren’t fully vaccinated, the vaccine can still offer some benefits.

How many shots do you get?
The vaccine series is two doses given 6 to 12 months apart. Individuals who start the vaccine at or after the age of 15 will need three doses given 6 months apart.

Is the vaccine safe?
Yes. There are more than 15 years of vaccine safety data available and more than 135 million doses of the HPV vaccine have been given in the U.S.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

What is RSV?
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus that causes infections of the lungs and respiratory tract. Most children have been infected with RSV by age 2. Adults can also get RSV.

RSV immunization is available for babies and the RSV vaccine is available for pregnant women and older adults who are more likely to develop severe illness and be hospitalized.

Does RSV go away on its own?
For most adults and older children who are healthy, symptoms are usually mild and are similar to the common cold. Symptoms will usually go away within two weeks. Those who are at an increased risk of serious illness from RSV infection include:

  • Babies under 12 months, especially premature infants
  • Older adults
  • Those who have heart or lung disease
  • Anyone with a weak immune system

Who should get immunized?

Older adults: A single dose of Abrysvo is recommended for adults who:

  • Are age 60 and older.
  • Have chronic heart or lung disease or weakened immune systems.
  • Live in a long-term care facility.

Infants and children: A monoclonal antibody called Nirsevimab (Beyfortus) is recommended for all infants younger than 8 months who are born during, or who are entering their first RSV season.

One dose of Nirsevimab can protect infants for 5 months, the length of an average RSV season.

A dose of Nirsevimab is also recommended for some children between the ages of 8 and 19 months who are at an increased risk of severe RSV and who are entering their second RSV season.

Pregnant women: A single dose of Abrysvo is recommended for pregnant women between 32 and 36 weeks of pregnancy during September through January to protect babies from severe RSV.

Vaccine Schedule

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