Skip to main content

Military Health System

How to Get Your Kids Up to Date on Vaccinations

Image of Child wearing a mask getting the COVID-19 vaccine. A child gets a bandage from Senior Airman Kim Williams, 18th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron aeromedical evacuation technician, after receiving a pediatric dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Jan. 28, 2022. When considering the options regarding vaccinating their child against any childhood disease, parents are advised to speak to a medical provider about their child’s medical conditions and any prior reactions to immunizations (Photo by: Airman 1st Class Anna Nolte, 18th Wing Public Affairs).

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Back to School | Immunization Healthcare Division

The COVID-19 pandemic drove the largest drop in childhood immunizations worldwide in 30 years, and health officials are urging parents to make sure their children are up to date on their shots as they return to more normal routines. 

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, children have fallen behind on their immunizations in the Unites States and globally, increasing the risk for disease outbreaks,” said family nurse practitioner Donna Hoffman with the North Atlantic Region Vaccine Safety Hub-Defense Health Agency Immunization Healthcare Division (DHA-IHD).

“Staying up to date on childhood immunizations is essential to optimizing protection against diseases such as measles, hepatitis, pertussis (whooping cough), chicken pox, and tetanus,” she said.

The good news: “If your child has fallen behind on immunizations, they will not need to restart a vaccination series,” Hoffman emphasized.

For COVID-19 vaccinations, here are the current age requirements.

Why are Immunizations and Boosters Necessary?

Vaccines are crucial to keeping our children healthy and avoiding an illness that can impact their daily lives. 

“If we got the initial doses of a vaccine to protect us from a disease, it only makes sense to keep that protection at the best level possible through the recommended schedule for booster doses,” said Dr. David Hrncir, regional medical director, Central Region Vaccine Safety Hub, DHA-IHD.

Keeping our military kids up to date on vaccinations also benefits our readiness to serve.

“Adults can suffer from vaccine-preventable childhood diseases, just like kids,” Hrncir said. “Repeated exposure to your kids with childhood diseases can test your body’s ability to avoid becoming ill. While sick, your force protection readiness is degraded.”

How DHA Can Help

If you use your local military hospital or clinic, contact the immunizations staff for availability of vaccines and instructions on getting appointments or walk-in hours. Beneficiaries enrolled in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE PlusA limited primary care program available at some military hospitals and clinics.TRICARE Plus at their local MTF have priority. All others may use the clinic on a space-available basis. 

For those who use the TRICARE network, review information on covered services for both military medical treatment facilities and immunization clinics by state, as well as information on how to obtain immunizations through a TRICARE-authorized provider or a network pharmacy.

State immunization laws may vary for public and private schools, but four common childhood vaccines are required for entry into kindergarten in almost every state: diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, measles-mumps-rubella, polio, and varicella (chicken pox).

Children who are traveling overseas or making permanent changes of station under military orders may require accelerated schedules or additional immunizations for diseases that are present in that area, Hoffman said. These diseases include Japanese encephalitis, yellow fever, and typhoid.

Parents can check with their local immunization clinic or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel health site for additional information.

Resources

Health.mil, the official website for the Military Health System, maintains an immunization health care site providing information on childhood immunizations, including links to the CDC’s immunization schedules that describe the exact immunizations your child, tween, and teen should receive at different ages.

“It takes into account your child’s immune system’s maturity, and the risk of exposure to a particular disease in each age group,” Hoffman explained.

“For that reason, delaying immunization can leave your child unprotected which can have serious consequences not only for your child, but also for those who may be more vulnerable due to age or a weakened immune system.”

Vaccines can also protect tweens, teens, and college-age kids from common diseases, including meningitis, which can “spread easily in close communities like college dorms and social gatherings,” Hrncir said. The CDC adult schedule for immunizations is a good reference for your high-school and college-age kids 18 and older.

Additionally, children ages 11 to 12 can get the vaccine that prevents certain human papillomavirus-related adult cancers, Hrnicr said.

Other immunization resources include:

National Immunization Awareness Month
MHS’ Back-to-School Toolkit
Getting Your Baby Vaccinated
Why Vaccines are Important
Keeping Vaccination Records and Why

Military parents can contact the DHA’s 24/7 Immunization Healthcare Support Center at 1-877-GETVACC (1-877-438-8222) for assistance.

 

You also may be interested in...

Protect Yourself With Respiratory Illnesses on the Rise

Article Around MHS
12/19/2022
Military medical personnel administering vaccine

"Tis the season, and respiratory illnesses are on the rise. Learn critical health guidance about the viral triple threat of COVID-19, influenza, and the common cold, and the commonsense steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Children's Health | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Immunization Tool Kit | Influenza, Northern Hemisphere | Immunization Healthcare Division

Flu Season’s Here: You Still Can Get Your Flu Shot for Protection

Article
12/12/2022
Flu Week Infographic

It’s not too late to get vaccinated against the flu and COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare Division | Immunization Tool Kit | Vaccine Recommendations | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | National Immunization Awareness Month 2022 | Immunizations | Winter Safety

MHS Minute | Nov 2022

Video
12/12/2022
MHS Minute | Nov 2022

The latest MHS Minute focuses on highlights from DHA Director Lt. Gen. Ronald J. Place’s final virtual town hall with the workforce, Nov. 16, 2022. The discussion included the agency’s biggest accomplishments over the past three years and the impact of COVID-19 on DHA’s reputation and approach to health care delivery.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus

General Best Practice Guidelines for Immunization

Publication
10/31/2022

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends routine vaccination to prevent 17 vaccine-preventable diseases that occur in infants, children, adolescents, or adults. This report provides information for clinicians and other health care providers about concerns that commonly arise when vaccinating persons of various ages.

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare Division | Vaccine Recommendations | Continuous Quality Immunization Improvement Process (CQIIP) and Virtual Continuous Quality Immunization Improvement Process (VCQIIP)

Get Protected With New COVID-19 Booster and Flu Vaccine

Article Around MHS
10/24/2022
Military medical personnel administering vaccine

There are two vaccines you should consider getting this Fall, and now you can get them both at the same time.

Recommended Content:

Immunizations | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Time to Get Your Flu Shot and Your COVID-19 Booster, Too

Article
10/14/2022
Senior MHS officials and medics from the Pentagon stand together Oct. 13 after receiving their flu shots and bivalent COVID-19 boosters.."

It's flu shot time. Get your COVID-19 booster at the same time.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Toolkit | Immunizations | Coronavirus

Schedule Now: Wellness Exams

Infographic
10/13/2022
Schedule Now: Wellness Exams

Schedule Now - Wellness Exams

Recommended Content:

Back to School

Prevent the Spread of Influenza and COVID-19 Viruses Within Your Community

Article
10/11/2022
A person getting an injection on their arm.

As families return from summer vacation and students return to school, the influenza (flu) season is approaching while the COVID-19 pandemic is still on-going.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Immunizations | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Toolkit

Get Your Flu Shot

Video
10/4/2022
Get Your Flu Shot

Rear Adm. Brandon L. Taylor, Director of DHA Public Health, discusses how vaccines greatly reduce the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death. "An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure." Lets us join Rear Adm. Taylor this year to get informed on how vaccines can minimize the dangers of flu.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Immunizations | Immunization Healthcare Division | Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Toolkit

COVID-19: Bottom Line on Boosters

Infographic
9/19/2022
COVID-19: Bottom Line on Boosters

Bottom Line on Boosters: Stay up to date!

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

DHA Form 207: COVID-19 Vaccine Screening and Immunization Document v22

Form/Template
9/9/2022

The purpose of this form is to determine if the COVID-19 vaccine can be administered to the patient. (v22, Sept. 2022)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Immunization Healthcare Division | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Information for Military Treatment Facility Directors | Coronavirus

Ramstein Now Offers Novavax Vaccine

Article Around MHS
9/8/2022
Military medical gives Soldier a COVID-19 vaccine

The 86th Medical Group is now offering the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, which has been authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to members 18 years and older in the Kaiserslautern Military Community.

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare Division | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Immunizations | Coronavirus

Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine Now Available for 12 to 17 Year-Olds

Article
8/30/2022
Air Force Staff. Sgt. fills a syringe with a COVID-19 vaccine at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine is Available for Those 12 Years' Old and Above

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

New COVID-19 Boosters Against Subvariants Coming Soon

Article
8/29/2022
Marine on right gets a COVID-19 booster vaccination from a nursing student on his left.

Brooklyn Marine gets COVID-19 booster vaccination.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

COVID-19 Novavax Vaccine

Infographic
8/18/2022
COVID-19 Novavax Vaccine

The Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine, Adjuvanated includes two doses, 21 days apart. Remember to mark your calendar and schedule time for your second dose.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Types of COVID-19 Vaccines
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 25
Refine your search
Last Updated: August 25, 2022
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery