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​​​​Vaccines & Immunizations

Vaccinations protect you, your family and your community from disease. Before vaccines, thousands of children

and adults died each year. Vaccinations are the best protection against common diseases.

Who Should Be Vaccinated & When

​​At any age you or your family member may be at risk for vaccine-preventable diseases​


Vaccine Preventable Diseases​​


Common Questions about Immunizations

  • Are vaccines safe?

    Modern vaccines are very safe. They must pass rigorous safety studies before approval, and there are ongoing studies to identify any new problems. Marshfield Clinic is a leader in vaccine safety and effectiveness research.​​​

    Why does my baby have to have so many shots?

    Childhood diseases can have serious consequences for your baby so it’s best to begin their protection at the earliest possible age.

    I don’t know anyone who has had measles so why be vaccinated?

    Where vaccination rates are high, the disease is rare, but it can and does infect unprotected people every year. In some cases, the disease causes serious illness.

    I had a flu shot last year, why do I need one this year?

    The flu vaccine does not provide long term protection because the virus is always mutating and the body’s immune response weakens over time.​ The annual flu shot provides protection against the most common strains of flu virus each year.

  • I’m pregnant, what vaccinations should I get?

    Tdap (whooping cough) and the flu shot are routinely recommended for all pregnant women, but you should talk to your doctor before getting vaccinated.​​​​​

    Any specific vaccinations for people 60 years or older?

    Doctors recommend three vaccinations: the annual flu shot, pneumococcal vaccines (age 65+) and zoster or shingles vaccine (age 60+).

    We’re vacationing overseas, do we need additional vaccinations?

    You might—it depends on your destination. Talk to your doctor about your travel plans at least 4-6 weeks before you leave, or check

    Why vaccinate my preteen for HPV when she’s not sexually active?

    The HPV works best in pre-teens to build a strong immunity against future exposure. It’s best to get the protection before any sexual activity begins.

  • What is the truth about dangerous vaccine side effects?

    Vaccines can sometimes cause mild side effects like soreness or fever, but serious side effects are very rare. There is a great deal of misinformation about vaccines on the Internet. Talk to your doctor or for accurate online information​

    My son is going to college soon, what vaccinations does he need?

    Your child should be up-to-date on all adolescent vaccinations, including the meningitis vaccine. A new vaccine against serogroup B meningitis was licensed in 2014. Talk to your doctor about whether your child should get this vaccine.​

    Can my doctor vaccinate my child if he is sick?

    In cases of a slight fever or cold, most likely yes. However, it’s always best to check with your doctor. In some cases, the doctor may want you to wait.​​​

    Is there any link between vaccines and autism?

    No. Scientists and researchers have studied this concern for years following a false report that said there was a link. Researcher found no link to any vaccine and autism.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Trusted Resources


Vaccine information


Centers for Disease Control​


Information for Travelers