The purpose of a vaccination is to stimulate your immune system to produce immunity to a particular disease, which in turn helps protect you from that disease. Vaccines are usually administered through needle injections but can also be given by mouth or can be sprayed through your nose.
Flu shots are one type of vaccine. Influenza, or “the flu,” is a respiratory virus that can spread. Flu complications, such as pneumonia, can occur anytime during flu season.
Each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releases a list of recommended immunizations from birth through college and adulthood to protect against certain diseases. Before attending school, children may be required to show proof they have been immunized against certain diseases.
Vaccines work by helping your immune system create antibodies, similar to what happens when you are exposed to a disease. However, unlike actual diseases, vaccines contain only inactivated or weakened forms of viruses, bacteria, or other pathogens, so they do not cause illness or put you at risk of complications. This means that you can safely train your immune system to recognize and fight these diseases without having to experience the full consequences of contracting them.
Vaccination can protect against many different diseases, including:
- Influenza (flu)
- Rubella (German measles)
- Chickenpox (varicella)
- Shingles (herpes zoster)
- Hepatitis A and B
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
This list is not exhaustive, as new vaccines are constantly being developed to protect against other diseases. Vaccines are an important tool for preventing the spread of infectious diseases and protecting both individual and community health.
Vaccines that protect against Ebola or malaria are being tested but are not yet widely available.
Find Where to Get Vaccinated
Since your healthcare provider knows your health history, it’s best to see them for shots. Other options:
- Put your ZIP code in the vaccine locator tool to find a provider near you.
- Contact your state health department.
Get the Cost of Immunizations Covered
Depending on your income, age, and health insurance coverage, you or your children may be eligible for free vaccinations.
- Learn about the Vaccines for Children program (VFC).
- See if your family qualifies for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
- Find out if you are eligible for Medicare or Medicaid-covered vaccinations.
- Search for a local health center that can give immunizations at a cost based on your income.
*you can come to visit one of TGH Urgent Care walk-in clinics in South Tampa to learn about your coverage and get vaccinated*
Vaccine Injury Reporting
If you or your child experienced a serious reaction to a vaccine, you may want to report it through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Read frequently asked questions about reporting vaccine-related adverse events.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) monitors supplies of vaccines and vaccine costs. VICP also helps people receive compensation if a vaccination injured them.