Last Updated August 2023 | This article was created by editorial staff and reviewed by Deepak S. Patel, MD, FAAFP, FACSM

Vaccinations are proven to be safe and effective, and they save lives. They are an important part of everyone’s health: babies and toddlers, school-age children, teens and pre-teens, pregnant women, adults, and seniors. To protect public health, the AAFP strongly recommends that patients receive all necessary vaccinations in their primary care physician’s office.

Path to improved well being

Each year, the AAFP and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices collaborate to develop recommendations for the routine use of vaccines in children, adolescents, and adults in the United States. Below is a collection of resources from You’ll find information on immunization schedules, specific vaccines, and more to help you and your family stay healthy.

Vaccines are safe, effective, and save lives

Check out the following resources to keep you and your family safe from highly preventable diseases and conditions:

Things to consider

There is proof that childhood vaccines do not cause autism. In fact, the benefits of vaccines outweigh their side effects. Side effects generally include slight pain and tenderness at the site of the injection. The pain can be treated with over-the-counter pain medicine and a cold compress.

Vaccines are required for many activities. Not having the appropriate vaccine can interfere with your plans. These instances include school and travel.

Parents with school-aged children should make sure their kids are up to date on vaccines before the new school year begins. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), national coverage with state-required vaccines declined among kindergarten students by 2% from 2020–2022. An additional 4.4% of kindergartners without an approved exemption were outdated on their measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) immunization. Disruptions related to COVID-19 affected vaccination coverage, but coverage has not returned to pre-pandemic numbers since returning to in-person learning.

When vaccination rates decline, cases of preventable diseases go up. This has been happening in recent years with measles. As of July 7, 2023, the CDC has been notified of 18 confirmed cases in 12 U.S. jurisdictions. That may not seem like a lot but compare it with just 3 cases during the same time in 2022. By the end of 2022, there were 121 cases. Almost all those cases could have been prevented with vaccines. The CDC urges all U.S. residents to make sure they are current on their MMR vaccine, especially prior to international travel.

Talk to your doctor about any health conditions you currently have and the impact of the vaccine on that condition. This may include telling your doctor if you are sick with a cold or flu.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • Which vaccines does my child need before starting school?
  • Can I delay a vaccine?
  • Can I get a disease after I’ve gotten the vaccine?
  • Is my newborn at risk of certain diseases if he or she isn’t old enough to get certain vaccines?
  • Which vaccines are safe to get at the same time?
  • How do I know if I had certain vaccines as a child if I don’t have the records?
  • What is the research on vaccines and autism?


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Immunization Schedules


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