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As a parent or caregiver, you make important decisions that affect your children every day, including vaccinations. Vaccines can save your child’s life and the lives of others in your community. Talk to your family's health care provider about recommended vaccines.

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  • Following the recommended vaccination schedule protects children from 14 preventable diseases and also protects families and communities.

  • Most childhood vaccines are 90% to 99% effective in preventing disease (American Academy of Pediatrics).

  • If a vaccinated child does get the disease, the symptoms are usually less serious than in a child who hasn’t been vaccinated. 

Recommended Vaccines by Age

An immunization schedule lists the timing of recommended vaccinations. The CDC’s recommendations are based on extensive research. It was created to protect children from diseases at the earliest time that vaccines are safe and effective. Delaying vaccines leaves your child vulnerable to disease at the time when they are the most at risk.

During Pregnancy

Your health and wellbeing are more important than ever–for yourself and your developing baby. Getting recommended vaccines during pregnancy protects you both. That's because you will pass on some temporary protection until your baby is old enough to get vaccinated. Some may need additional vaccines during pregnancy. Your doctor or midwife can provide more information. More on pregnancy and vaccinations (CDC)

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As of September 22, the CDC recommends one dose of a seasonal RSV vaccine for people who are 32 through 36 weeks pregnant to protect their newborns from severe RSV illnesses- the leading cause of hospitalization for infants in the U.S. It is unknown when this product will be available in Vermont. Learn more 

 The CDC recommends the following vaccines during pregnancy:

Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Whooping Cough) (Tdap)


By vaccinating during pregnancy, and asking other family members and caregivers to do the same, you are giving your newborn protection from potentially severe, life-threatening diseases, including whooping cough (pertussis). A 2018 study found the Tdap vaccine, given during the third trimester of pregnancy, reduced the incidence of whooping cough in infants by 43% (American Journal of Preventative Medicine). Learn more at CDC

  • Pregnant people should get a dose of Tdap during every pregnancy, preferably during the early part of the third trimester. 
Influenza (Flu)

You can get your flu shot before, during or after pregnancy. It is recommended to get your flu shot if you are pregnant during fall or winter. It's a safe and effective way to protect yourself and your baby from flu. Pregnant people are more likely to have severe illness from flu, possibly due to changes in immune, heart, and lung functions during pregnancy. Flu also may be harmful to a pregnant person’s developing baby. Learn more at CDC

More from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists


Pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy can protect you from severe illness from COVID-19. More on COVID-19 vaccines while pregnant or breastfeeding (CDC)

Find COVID-19 vaccines in Vermont

Infants and Young Children

By following the recommended schedule, by the time your child is 2 years old, they should be protected against 14 vaccine-preventable diseases. See the recommended vaccine schedule for infants and children (CDC)

Chickenpox (Varicella)

Chickenpox is a highly contagious viral infection that can cause itchy blisters, fever and other symptoms. While usually mild for most children, in some cases, it can lead to more serious complications such as pneumonia or encephalitis. Babies under a year old are at higher risk of getting very sick. Learn more at CDC

  • First dose between 12-15 months old.

  • Second dose between 4-6 years old.

  • Most people who are vaccinated with two doses will be protected for life.

Diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough (pertussis) (DTaP)

The DTaP vaccine has virtually eliminated diphtheria and tetanus in childhood and has greatly reduced the number of whooping cough (pertussis) cases. It may be hard to know if a baby has whooping cough because many babies with this disease don’t cough at all. Instead, it can cause them to stop breathing and turn blue. Babies need three shots of DTaP to build up high levels of protection against these diseases, plus two additional doses as young children to keep that protection through early childhood. Learn more at CDC

  • CDC recommends shots at the following ages:

    • 2 months

    • 4 months

    • 6 months

    • 15 through 18 months

    • 4 through 6 years

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) can cause serious illness and death in babies and children younger than 5 years old. Learn more at CDC

  • CDC recommends shots at the following ages:

    • 2 months

    • 4 months

    • 6 months (if needed; depends on brand)

    • 12 through 15 months

Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)

This vaccine provides safe and effective protection against three different diseases caused by viruses, measles, mumps, and rubella. The more people who get vaccinated, the harder it is for viruses to spread and make other people sick. Getting your child vaccinated not helps protect them, but also other children, community members and those who cannot get vaccinated due to medical reasons. Learn more at CDC

  • First dose at 12 to 15 months of age

  • Second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. 

Polio (IPV)

Vaccinating your child against polio helps protect them from a highly contagious viral infection that can cause paralysis and even death. Learn more at CDC

  • Children should get four doses of polio vaccine at the following ages:

    • 2 months

    • 4 months

    • 6 through 18 months

    • 4 through 6 years

Pneumococcal (PCV)

Vaccines help prevent pneumococcal disease, which is any type of illness caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. Pneumococcal diseases can cause serious illnesses such as pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections. Learn more at CDC

  • Four doses are recommended at ages:

    • 2 months

    • 4 months

    • 6 months

    • 12-15 months

Hepatitis A (HepA)

Vaccinating your child against Hepatitis A is important because it helps protect them from a highly contagious liver infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus. This virus is usually spread through contaminated food or water and can cause symptoms such as fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, and jaundice.  It also protects them from spreading the disease, since children under six typically don’t have symptoms, so they often pass the disease to others without anyone knowing they were infected. Learn more at CDC

  • One dose at 12-23 months.

  • Second dose six months after the first one.

Hepatitis B (HepB)

Hepatitis B is a contagious liver disease caused by a virus. It is spread through contact with infected blood or body fluids. The Hepatitis B vaccine helps protect children from the virus that can cause serious liver damage and even liver cancer. Some people clear the virus after infection. For other people, it becomes a chronic condition causing serious health problems. Infected babies usually become chronic.  Learn more at CDC

  • First dose shortly after birth.

  • Second dose at 1-2 months.

  • Third dose between 6-18 months. 


Rotavirus is a common cause of gastroenteritis in young children. Vaccination can protect your child from severe diarrhea and vomiting with rotavirus, and significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization and complications associated with the infection. Learn more at CDC

  • Two or three doses of the vaccine drops are recommended at ages: 

    • 2 months

    • 4 months

    • 6 months (depending on brand)

Influenza (Flu)

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get an annual flu shot. The flu vaccine prevents the flu or makes flu symptoms less severe, so kids don't miss out on school and activities. Every year by the end of October, if possible. Visit our flu prevention web page


Like the flu shot, everyone 6 months and older should get an additional annual dose of COVID-19 vaccine (after the primary vaccines series) to stay protected against infection and serious illness. See more on COVID-19 vaccines

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Important new tool to protect infants and young children from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

This fall, a new immunization product – nirsevimab (Beyfortus) – will be available to help protect babies from severe disease from an RSV infection. This is in addition to palivizumab (Synagis), another protective medicine that's been available for high-risk children for many years. These protective medicines, also called monoclonal antibodies, are not vaccines. They provide an extra layer of defense that helps fight RSV infections and protect children from getting very sick.  

Learn more at CDC

Preteens and Teens

Your child is growing up! As they go out and begin to experience the world, staying on track with vaccinations is essential to their health and safety. See the recommended adolescent and teen vaccination schedule (CDC)

Your preteen or teen should receive vaccines to help protect against these diseases:

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Protect your child from certain cancers later in life with HPV vaccine. Learn more at CDC

  • HPV vaccines can be given starting at age 9 years.

  • Preteens ages 11–12 years should get two doses of HPV vaccine, given 6 to 12 months apart.

  • Teens who start the HPV vaccine series on or after their 15th birthday need three doses, given over 6 months.

Meningococcal disease (MenACWY)

This vaccine protects against four types of bacteria that cause meningococcal disease, infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis), bloodstream infections (meningococcemia), and long-term disabilities that often come with surviving meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease often occurs without warning – even among people who are otherwise healthy. Learn more at CDC

  • Preteens ages 11–12 years should get the first dose.

  • Teens get a second dose at 16 years. 

Tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough (pertussis) (Tdap)

This is the vaccine that protects against potentially serious and even deadly diseases of whooping cough (pertussis), diphtheria and tetanus. More on whooping cough, diphtheria and tetanus vaccines (CDC)

  • Younger children are recommended to get several DTdap doses at earlier ages.

  • One Tdap dose is typically given at age 11–12 years for continued protection from these diseases for adolescents and adults.

Serogroup B meningococcal (MenB)

While the risk of meningococcal serogroup B disease (MenB) increases during late adolescence and early adulthood, overall, the risk of this disease is very low. For this reason, and a lack of data on vaccine effectiveness and how long the vaccine can provide protection, the CDC has not included this vaccine in the recommended vaccine schedule for all adolescents.

Influenza (Flu)

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get an annual flu shot. The flu vaccine prevents the flu or makes flu symptoms less severe, so kids don't miss out on school and activities. Every year by the end of October, if possible. Visit our flu prevention web page


Like the flu shot, everyone 6 months and older should get an additional annual dose of COVID-19 vaccine (after the primary vaccines series) to stay protected against infection and serious illness. See more on COVID-19 vaccines

Frequently Asked Questions
What if I can’t afford to vaccinate my child?

In Vermont, the Health Department provides all recommended childhood vaccines to health care providers, free of charge. Providers may charge a small fee to administer vaccines which is typically covered by insurers. Dr. Dynasaur provides low-cost or free health insurance for children. Even children who are already covered by other insurance may qualify for extra benefits from Dr. Dynasaur.

For more information call Health Access Member Services for Green Mountain Care at 1-800-250-8427. If you can’t locate a health care provider or are uninsured, contact your local health office.

Where can I find my child’s vaccination record?

Your health care provider should be able to print out an up-to-date copy of your child’s record. All vaccines given should be recorded by your health care provider in the Vermont Immunization Registry regardless of where your child was vaccinated. It is helpful to keep a copy of your child’s immunization record. If you cannot provide a complete vaccination record, your child may be enrolled for now (provisionally). You will then have six months to fully vaccinate your child. With your permission, your child care provider may check the confidential online Immunization Registry to determine if your child is up to date.

What if my child cannot be vaccinated for medical or religious reasons?

If your child cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons, have your health care provider complete a medical exemption form and give it to your child care provider. If you have religious objections, you must provide a signed exemption to your child care provider annually. Be aware that children with exemptions may not be allowed to attend child care during a disease outbreak.

Read more on vaccination exemptions

Religious exemption form (translated in Español (Spanish))

Required parent education material for religious exemption (translated in Español (Spanish))

Medical exemption form (translated in in Español (Spanish))

Is it better to get vaccinated or get immunity from having the disease?

It is better to vaccinate your child rather than relying on natural immunity from having the disease. Vaccines are specifically designed to stimulate your immune system and provide protection against the disease without causing the actual illness. Relying on natural immunity means they would have to contract the disease, which can have serious health consequences and potentially lead to complications or even death. Additionally, natural immunity may not provide long-lasting protection, whereas vaccines can offer more durable immunity.

Are vaccines safe?

Yes. The CDC immunization schedule was created to protect children from diseases at the earliest time that vaccines are safe and effective. This is based on extensive research and monitoring vaccine safety. The Vermont Health Department also works with health care providers on vaccine handling and storage, record keeping, informing families about risks and benefits and reporting reactions, if they happen. 

Like any medicine, vaccines can sometimes cause side effects. However, serious reactions are extremely rare. The risk of vaccine side effects is far lower than the risk of serious illness from getting the diseases vaccines prevent. Vaccine information sheets describe the benefits and risks of each vaccine. You may wish to review this information before your child’s appointment. Your health care provider will also give you a sheet for each vaccine.

How do vaccines work?

Vaccines contain part of a germ (bacteria or virus) called an antigen, along with small amounts of other ingredients that make the vaccine or maintain its safety and effectiveness. Antigens tell the body to produce an immune response to protect itself against infection. The antigen used in vaccines has been killed or weakened before it's used to make the vaccine, so it can't give you the disease it is protecting you from.

Child Care and School Immunization Requirements

Child care and school immunization requirements help keep kids safe and build community immunity. That's when a high percentage of the population is immunized to effectively limit the spread of serious and sometimes fatal diseases. Achieving and maintaining community immunity protects not only those who have been vaccinated, but also those with compromised or weak immune systems. Find immunization coverage at Vermont schools

Children and students without all doses of required vaccines may be provisionally admitted without an exemption if the child has a scheduled appointment to receive the missing vaccines, consistent with the CDC's catch-up immunization scheduleLearn more about requesting provisional admittance

Students must provide documentation of required vaccinations.

Required vaccines for kindergarten
  • 5 doses of DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough)) vaccine.

  • 4 doses of polio vaccine.

  • 2 doses of MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine.

  • 3 doses of hepatitis B vaccine.

  • 2 doses of chickenpox (varicella) vaccine. If the student has previously had Chickenpox disease, no vaccine or exemption is needed. Parents must submit documentation of disease or sign the Health Department form.

School year 2023-24 immunization requirements (grades K-12)

Read Parent's Guide to Immunizations Required for Child Care (also translated in नेपाली (Nepali) and español (Spanish))

Required vaccines for 7th grade
  • All the immunizations required to enter kindergarten.

  • 1 dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine.

  • For residential students, one or two (age appropriate) doses of meningococcal (MenACWY) vaccine.

School year 2023-24 immunization requirements (grades K-12)

Recommended and required vaccines for students entering 7th grade

Required vaccines for college

The requirements are for all full-time undergraduate students and any student enrolled in an allied health science program.

  • 1 dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) vaccine.

  • 2 doses of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.

  • 2 or 3 doses of hepatitis B vaccine (full series, brand dependent).

  • 2 doses of chickenpox (varicella) vaccine. If the student has previously had chickenpox disease no vaccine or exemption is needed. Submit documentation of disease or sign the Health Department form.

  • 1 or 2 doses of quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MenACWY). This requirement is for first year students living in dormitories who are younger than age 22. Only those vaccinated before their 16th birthday need a second dose before college entry.

Academic Year 2023-24 college immunization requirements

More Resources
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Why it's important to vaccinate (CDC)
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Vaccine Safety: Answers to Parents’ Top Questions (CA Dept of Health)
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When Doctors Make Their Own Immunization Schedule: What You Should Know (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)
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Too Many Vaccines? What You Should Know (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)
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Vaccine Considerations for New and Expectant Parents (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine Education Center)
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