Frequently Asked Questions
With so much information available online, many people have questions about vaccines. Unfortunately, not everything you read about vaccines is true. It is important to get science-based information to answer any questions you have about vaccines to make sure you’re getting the correct information.
We’ve included accurate and science-based answers to some of the most commonly asked vaccine questions here. We encourage you to look at other sites to find more information, but make sure they are reliable and the information is accurate. Here is a list of trusted sources for vaccine information.
How Do Vaccines Work?
Simply put, vaccines help your body build immunity to dangerous diseases. Immunity is when your body has built something called an antibody. Antibodies help fight off germs that cause harm. From the time we’re born, our bodies have immune systems that can fight most germs. As we grow, we’re exposed to more germs and our bodies build antibodies to help fight diseases caused by germs, there are some deadly diseases that our bodies can’t handle.
Are Vaccines Safe?
Yes. Vaccines must pass many tests before they are licensed to give to the public. There are so many tests a vaccine must pass that it often takes years to get a license. Once a vaccine is licensed, the Federal Food & Drug Administration, Center for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, and other federal agencies closely monitor it for any potential safety concerns.
Are There Side Effects of Vaccines?
When Do I Need to Get a Vaccine for Myself or My Child?
Virginia follows the CDC recommendations for child and adult vaccine schedules. Your doctor should let you know when you need to get vaccines, but we’ve included easy to read schedules for parents and adults for you to reference. We always recommend talking to your doctor when you or a loved one should get a vaccine!
Who Sets the Immunization Schedule?
What if I Miss a Dose of a Vaccine?
Many vaccines require multiple doses to help the body build up enough immunity to the disease to last a lifetime. In many cases your doctor can help you catch-up without starting over. Talk to your doctor about catching up.
Which Vaccines are Required for Schools in Virginia?
Virginia follows the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ recommended vaccine schedule for child and adolescent vaccines. More details and forms can be found on the Virginia Department of Health’s site, School Requirements, or call the Division of Immunizations at 1-800-568-1929 (in state only) or 804-864-8055.
What is a Combination Vaccine and is it Safe?
A combination vaccine combines vaccines for more than one disease into one shot. This means that your child can get one shot with multiple vaccines. As with all vaccines, combination vaccines are tested extensively to make sure they are safe to give at the same time.
Should I Wait to Get a Vaccine if My Child has a Cold or Fever?
Children can still get vaccinated when they have a mild illness like a cold or fever. As always, talk with your doctor if you have concerns.