Shots aren’t just for babies! Get vaccinated.

We all need immunizations --also called vaccines or booster shots--to help protect us from diseases that otherwise would be serious health threats. As American Family Physician puts it, “Vaccines are one of the most successful medical advances in modern times” (J Spencer, R Pawlowski, S Thomas; June 15, 2017).  We at CareOregon proudly support National Immunization Awareness Month. The Oregon Health Plan fully covers the cost of recommended vaccines.

We’re in this together. Public health relies on a widely vaccinated population to help guard our communities from these illnesses.  It’s very important that the public understand the facts about vaccines, and the risks involved in not immunizing children, says Dr. George Waldmann, a board-certified family practice doctor and associate medical director at CareOregon.  “The diseases we’re immunizing against can be serious,” he notes, “and, at times, fatal.” 

Vaccines protect our children from 14 different diseases before they reach age 2. Measles and pertussis (whooping cough) can be serious or even deadly in unimmunized children.

A timely shot coming up soon is the seasonal flu vaccine. With rare exceptions, everyone age 6 months and older needs to get a flu vaccine every year. Other vaccines are best given at certain ages. Talk to your primary care provider (PCP) about which shots you and your family need. Here’s a basic guide.

Young children

  • Children younger than 6 years need a series of shots to protect against measles, polio, chicken pox and hepatitis.


  • At age 11 or 12, kids need shots to help protect them against tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough and meningitis.
  • Parents or caregivers of adolescents (boys and girls) should talk to their primary care provider about the HPV vaccine, which protects against the most common cause of cervical cancer. Daniel: See different heatlhwise links below.


  • All adults need a tetanus shot every 10 years.
  • People age 65 need a one-time pneumonia vaccine.

Pertussis (whooping cough) – What you need to know

Pertussis is a lung disease that comes from bacteria. It can occur at any age and causes serious illness. Infants too young to be fully vaccinated are especially at risk. Pertussis spreads easily by coughing and sneezing. Getting your whole family vaccinated is your baby’s best protection.

In 2012, Oregon had the worst pertussis epidemic since the 1950s, with more than 900 cases. That contrasts with about 300 cases throughout 2011. Clark County, Wash. issued a health advisory warning in April 2015 because of the reported increase in pertussis.

About the pertussis vaccine

Pertussis vaccines are recommended for all children and adults, including pregnant women. Children under 7 years should get a series of five DTaP shots. Children ages 7 to 10 years who didn’t get all five in the series, and everyone age 11 and older, should get a booster. The booster is called Tdap.

 Vaccine safety

The United States has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in history. The law requires that vaccines be tested for years before they’re licensed and distributed. Once in use, vaccines are continually monitored for safety and effectiveness. If you have any questions about vaccine safety, ask your provider.  More information:

Other resources

Protect Yourself from Seasonal Flu (CDC link)

Adolescent and Adult Vaccine Quiz: “What Vaccines Do You need?”

School Immunization Information for Parents (Oregon Health Authority, Public Health Division)

Pertussis (Oregon Health Authority, Public Health Division) /

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