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Who and When

Vaccines help protect you from serious infectious diseases throughout your life — from infancy to early adulthood and into old age.

In this section, you’ll find information about vaccine schedules. Vaccine schedules tell you which vaccines you and your family need and when to get them. Vaccine schedules are organized by age. For example, there are vaccine schedules for:

Some people who are at an increased risk for certain diseases may need additional vaccines. For example:

Vaccines are also important for other high-risk groups, like people who inject drugs.

Who decides which vaccines to recommend?

After years of safety testing, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licenses a vaccine for use in the United States. Then the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a group of medical and public health experts, develops vaccination recommendations.

ACIP makes recommendations for:

  • When a vaccine should be given
  • The number of doses needed and the time between doses
  • Who should and should not get the vaccine

The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must approve ACIP’s recommendations before they become part of the official U.S. vaccine schedules.

Do health insurance plans cover recommended vaccines?

Most health insurance plans are required to cover recommended vaccines without charging a copay or coinsurance when the vaccine is given by a doctor in your network. Check with your insurance plan to find out if there’s any cost to you.

If your family doesn’t have health insurance:

Last reviewed: December 2017