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Welcome Students and Scouts!

WHAT

This page provides resources for scouts working towards their public health badge and young adults interested in learning more about vaccination.

What are vaccines?

Immunization is the process of protecting a person from disease through vaccination. This term is often used to mean the same thing as vaccination. Vaccines prepare your body to recognize and defend itself against disease.

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How vaccines work

Vaccines are a major tool in the toolbox of disease prevention.  They imitate an infection and teach your body what the disease looks like and how to protect yourself from it.  They are a weakened form of the germs that make you sick, so you don’t have any serious health impacts. Vaccines help prevent you from getting sick if you are exposed to the real disease. ​ Vaccines may seem complicated and scientific, but each part is important to prevent disease.  It’s also important to understand that the ingredients in vaccines are often found in the world around us. The CDC’s website lists many of the common ingredients and their purposes.

Vaccine Availability

  • Vaccine safety and efficacy is taken very seriously when preparing something for wide use.

  • Extensive trials are done before they are given to the public and there are many steps before drugs even make it to trials.

  • The following chart helps identify which diseases have an available vaccine:

E. Coli

NO

Salmonella

NO

Herpes

NO

Covid-19

YES

Polio

YES

Encephalitis

YES

Hepatitis

YES

Botulism

NO

Gonorrhea

YES

Lyme Disease

NO

AIDS

NO

Rabies

YES

Meningitis

YES

Syphilis

NO

Mumps

YES

West Nile Virus

NO

Influenza

YES

Emphysema

NO

Tetanus

YES

Lead Poisoning

NO

HOW
WHEN

When to get vaccines

The CDC continues to do research and make recommendations for eligible populations. The Covid-19 vaccine is now available to those 6 months and older.

There are different types of vaccine schedules depending on what they are protecting your body from. Some you only need when you’re a baby and some are for when you are older. There are also vaccines that happen once in your life and others that are needed every year.

Vaccines schedules are determined by healthcare professionals and make sure you get vaccines when your body most needs them. Can you think of another vaccine that you need every year?

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Childhood Vaccination Schedule Chart from the Virginia Department of Health

Annual vaccines are used when the virus evolves, and strains are different every year. Even if you got the flu vaccine last year you still need it this year.

Vaccines like Chickenpox and Hepatitis B need multiple vaccinations to be effective, and the Tdap vaccine is needed every 10 years after the initial dose.

ImmunizeVA mascot dog with name Tracker
Virginia Childhood Vaccination Schedule
Virginia Childhood Vaccination Schedule

You can protect yourself and others!

TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH

It’s always better to prevent disease than treat it. By staying up to date on your vaccination schedule you can protect yourself and those around you. Some people aren’t eligible for vaccinations because of serious medical conditions, such as cancer. Diseases that are preventable with vaccines can impact them at a much higher rate than for healthy individuals, so we can all do our part by getting vaccinated ourselves.

 

When most people in the population are protected from disease it’s possible to reach something called “Community Immunity.” Community Immunity, also known as Herd Immunity, means that enough people in the community have been vaccinated to stop the vaccine from spreading from one person to another. Disease is unable to spread through a population where most people have received protection from the disease through a vaccine. As a result, even if not all members of a community can be vaccinated, they are still protected through the help of others.

ImmunizeVA mascot dog with name Tracker

Every year I do my part by getting the recommended flu shot!

 

How do you help others?

Resources

Your local health department is a great way to learn more about vaccines and other community health projects! You can also get vaccinated at your local health department!

Find a Health Department in Your Area

Vaccine Word Search and Answer Key

Tracker Coloring Page

RESOURCES

Frequently Asked Questions

With abundant online information, people often have vaccine-related questions. However, not everything you read about vaccines is true. To obtain accurate information, it is crucial to rely on science-based sources. Here are some trusted sources for reliable vaccine information.

  • Adult Vaccine Recommendations and Schedules
    All adults need a seasonal flu vaccine! Even if you don’t usually get sick from the flu, getting the shot will help prevent you from spreading it to others who may be at much higher risk. All adults also need a Td or Tdap vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. You may need additional vaccines if you have other health conditions. Center for Disease Control’s Adult Vaccine Recommendations When Adults Need Vaccines & What They Are What Vaccines Do You Need? A Quick & Easy Adult Vaccine Quiz Vaccine Recommendations for Travel
  • Where to Find Vaccines
    Vaccines may be available at your doctor’s office, pharmacies, health clinics or centers, and other community locations near you. If your primary healthcare provider does not stock vaccines, you can ask for a referral or contact your local health department to find out more about where to get vaccines in your communities. This website is also helpful in locating places offering vaccines in your community: https://vaccinefinder.org/
  • Paying for Vaccines
    All Health Insurance marketplace plans and most other private insurance plans cover certain vaccines without charging a copayment or coinsurance, even if you haven’t met your deductible. Medicare and Medicaid will also cover certain vaccines. You can find more details on this website: Paying for Vaccines. For those that don’t have insurance, the Virginia Vaccines for Adults (VVFA) program can help. VVFA is a statewide program through the Virginia Department of Health that helps adults that are uninsured get vaccines at little to no cost. Healthcare providers enroll in this program and offer vaccines in underserved areas.The vaccines available through this program are recommended by CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, although not all participating sites stock all vaccines. Individuals that have full insurance that will cover the cost of the vaccine are not eligible for this program. If you are an adult seeking a referral for this program, call your local health department to find out where to get vaccines through this program in your area. For more information on this call program the Virginia Department of Health 1-800-568-1929 or 1-804-864-8055. If you have more questions about vaccines, check out our Frequently Asked Questions page.
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