Why immunize our children? Sometimes we are confused by the messages in the media. First we are assured that, thanks to vaccines, some diseases are almost gone from the U.S. But we are also warned to immunize our children, ourselves as adults, and the elderly.
Diseases are becoming rare due to vaccinations.
It's true, some diseases (like polio and diphtheria) are becoming very rare in the U.S. Of course, they are becoming rare largely because we have been vaccinating against them. But it is still reasonable to ask whether it's really worthwhile to keep vaccinating.
It's much like bailing out a boat with a slow leak. When we started bailing, the boat was filled with water. But we have been bailing fast and hard, and now it is almost dry. We could say, "Good. The boat is dry now, so we can throw away the bucket and relax." But the leak hasn't stopped. Before long we'd notice a little water seeping in, and soon it might be back up to the same level as when we started.
Keep immunizing until disease is eliminated.
Unless we can "stop the leak" (eliminate the disease), it is important to keep immunizing. Even if there are only a few cases of disease today, if we take away the protection given by vaccination, more and more people will become infected and will spread disease to others. Soon we will undo the progress we have made over the years.
Japan reduced pertussis vaccinations, and an epidemic occurred.
In 1974, Japan had a successful pertussis (whooping cough) vaccination program, with nearly 80% of Japanese children vaccinated. That year only 393 cases of pertussis were reported in the entire country, and there were no deaths from pertussis. But then rumors began to spread that pertussis vaccination was no longer needed and that the vaccine was not safe, and by 1976 only 10% of infants were getting vaccinated. In 1979 Japan suffered a major pertussis epidemic, with more than 13,000 cases of whooping cough and 41 deaths. In 1981 the government began vaccinating with acellular pertussis vaccine, and the number of pertussis cases dropped again.
What if we stopped vaccinating?
So what would happen if we stopped vaccinating here? Diseases that are almost unknown would stage a comeback. Before long we would see epidemics of diseases that are nearly under control today. More children would get sick and more would die.
We vaccinate to protect our future.
We don't vaccinate just to protect our children. We also vaccinate to protect our grandchildren and their grandchildren. With one disease, smallpox, we "stopped the leak" in the boat by eradicating the disease. Our children don't have to get smallpox shots any more because the disease no longer exists. If we keep vaccinating now, parents in the future may be able to trust that diseases like polio and meningitis won't infect, cripple, or kill children. Vaccinations are one of the best ways to put an end to the serious effects of certain diseases.
Perinatal Hep B Prevention Program
If you’ve just learned that you have Hepatitis B and are planning to have a child the Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program (PHBPP) is here to help protect your baby and others from Hepatitis B.
The program provides case management for mothers who test positive for Hepatitis B at the time of delivery and their infants, to stop the transmission of the disease.
If you have any questions, contact your Healthcare Provider or the PHBPP at 210.207.2088.
Infant & Child Immunizations
Recommended immunizations for children 0-6 years of age
Recommended immunizations for children 7-18 years of age
The Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program offers free vaccines to patients 0-18 years of age and who meet one of the following criteria:
Immunization Schedules · School & Child-Care Facility Requirement
- Medicaid Enrolled
- Underinsured (health insurance does not cover immunizations)
- American Indian or Alaskan Native
- Enrolled in CHIP (State vaccine is provided for CHIP patients)
Providers can charge a vaccine administration fee to patients that are Uninsured, Underinsured, and Native American, American Indian or Alaskan Native by requesting the fee at the time of service, which cannot exceed $22.00 per dose. By joining the VFC Program providers agree not to turn VFC eligible children away for immunizations if the parent/guardian cannot pay the administrative fee. When the family cannot pay the administrative fee, the fee is waived and recommended vaccines are provided.
For More Information
Phone: 210.207.3965 ·
Pre-Teen & Adolescent Immunizations
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that pre-teens get several vaccines at their 11 or 12-year old check-up.
Recommended vaccines chart for children 7-18 years of age
School Requirements · College Requirements
- Tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap): Whooping cough is highly contagious with prolonged cough. If it is transmitted to infants, it may be life-threatening. Tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap) is an improvement to the old Td booster because it adds protection from whooping cough while still maintaining protection from tetanus and diphtheria.
How is the Tdap vaccine protecting my child? Click here to find out
- Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4): Meningococcal meningitis is a very serious infection of the lining around the brain and spinal cord. It can cause death. Meningococcal bloodstream infection can cause loss of an arm or leg and even death. Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) protects against these infections.
How is the MCV4 vaccine protecting my child? Click here to find out
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, for girls: HPV is a common virus. HPV is most common in people in their teens and early 20s. It is the major cause of cervical cancer in women. HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that most commonly cause cervical cancer and genital warts.
How is the HPV vaccine protecting my child? Click here to find out
These vaccines prevent serious, sometimes life-threatening diseases. As kids get older, protection provided by some childhood vaccines can begin to wear off. Kids can also develop risks for more diseases as they get older. The CDC and ACIP recommend that all
- 11 and 12-year olds get the Tdap, Meningococcal, and Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines;
If your child did not get these vaccines at age 11 or 12, parents are encouraged to check with your child’s health care provider or clinic about the availability of these important vaccines. For more information, visit the CDC website.
To reduce the risk of illness, the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District recommends the following immunizations for adults
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine: A series of three doses recommended for women through age 26. Ideally, vaccine should be administered before potential exposure to HPV through sexual activity; however, females who are sexually active should still be vaccinated. Sexually-active females who have not been infected with any of the HPV vaccine types receive the full benefit of the vaccination. Vaccination is less beneficial for females who have already been infected with one or more of the HPV vaccine types.
- Herpes Zoster Vaccine: A single dose of zoster vaccine is approved for adults aged >50 years regardless of whether they report a prior episode of herpes zoster. Persons with chronic medical conditions may be vaccinated unless a contraindication or precaution exists for their condition.
- Tetanus-Diphtheria-Pertussis (Tdap): Single dose for persons 19-64 years of age to replace next booster dose of Td. Also for adults who have close contact with infants less than 12 months old. This vaccine protects against the following diseases in adults:
- Tetanus - causes painful tightening of the muscles all over the body.
- Diphtheria - causes a thick covering in the back of the throat which can lead to breathing problems.
- Pertussis (Whooping Cough) - causes severe coughing spells, vomiting, and disturbed sleep. This vaccine is recommended for adults with small children or those adults that will be exposed to small children.
Influenza (Flu): One dose yearly for all adults, especially persons 50 years and older. Recommendation may change yearly depending on availability of vaccine.
Pneumococcal (Pneumonia): Vaccinate all adults aged 65 years and older; adults younger than age 65 years with chronic lung disease, chronic cardiovascular diseases; diabetes; chronic renal failure; nephrotic syndrome; chronic liver disease (including cirrhosis); alcoholism; cochlear implants; cerebrospinal fluid leaks; immune-compromising conditions; and functional or anatomic asplenia; residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities; and adults who smoke cigarettes.
Revaccination with PPSV23: One-time revaccination 5 years after the first dose is recommended for persons aged 19 through 64 years with chronic renal failure or nephrotic syndrome; functional or anatomic asplenia (e.g., sickle cell disease or splenectomy); and for persons with immune-compromising conditions. Persons who received 1 or 2 doses of PPSV23 before age 65 years for any indication should receive another dose of the vaccine at age 65 years or later if at least 5 years have passed since their previous dose. No further doses are needed for persons vaccinated with PPSV23 at or after age 65 years.
Tetanus-Diphtheria (Td): Booster every 10 years for all adults.
Hepatitis A (Hep A): Two doses at least 6 months apart for at-risk adults.
Hepatitis B (Hep B): Three doses (begin first dose/second dose 1 month later/third dose 5 months after second dose) for at-risk adults.
Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR): One dose recommended for adults born in 1957 or later if that person was not previously immunized. (Second dose is required in some work and all school settings.)
Varicella (Chickenpox): Two doses given 4 weeks apart are recommended for persons 13 and older who have not had chickenpox.
Meningococcal (Meningitis): Two meningococcal vaccines are available in the United States: 1) Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV4) for adults 56 years and above, and; 2) Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) for adults through age 55. Both vaccines can prevent four strains of meningococcal disease, including 2 of the 3 types most common in the United States and a type that causes epidemics in Africa. Revaccination after 5 years might be indicated for adults previously vaccinated with MPSV4 who remain at high risk for infection (e.g., persons residing in areas in which disease is epidemic).