Immunizations

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Give your health the best shot.

Talk to one of our immunizing pharmacists to see what vaccines are right for you.

You have the power to prevent illness and stay well, get vaccinated today!
Available vaccines vary by age and state. See pharmacist for details.
 

Flu Vaccine

What is the flu?1

The flu (influenza) is a contagious airway infection caused by the influenza virus. People with the flu can spread it to people up to 6 feet away through droplets when they cough, sneeze, or talk. It is also possible for you to get the flu by touching an object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, eyes, or nose. People can pass on the flu from 1 day before they get sick and up to 5 - 7 days after.

Who is at risk for getting the flu?2

Anyone can get the flu. Older adults, young children, pregnant women, people living in long-term care facilities, and people with certain health conditions are at higher risk for serious health problems resulting from the flu. Ask your doctor if you have one of these health conditions.

What are some symptoms of the flu?2

The flu can cause a sudden high fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and it can make you feel very tired. It commonly causes children to vomit and have diarrhea. The flu can cause some serious health problems such as other infections and dehydration and it can worsen any health problems you already have.

How do I prevent the flu?

The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine every year.2 It can also help to avoid contact with people who have the flu. Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Frequently touched surfaces and objects (especially eating utensils) should be cleaned and disinfected.1

How do I treat the flu?

If you do get the flu, you should follow these steps:3

  1. Stay home and rest for at least 24 hours after your fever goes away
  2. Avoid close contact with other people who are well. If you must leave home, wear a face mask if you have one and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.4
  3. Drink plenty of water and other clear liquids to prevent fluid loss (dehydration).
  4. Treat fever and cough with medicines you can buy at the store.
  5. If you get very sick, are pregnant, or have a medical condition that puts you at high risk of flu-related complications (like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), call your doctor. You might need antiviral drugs to treat flu.

Medications5

Your doctor may prescribe a medication that can fight against the flu. These medications are not sold over-the-counter. They can lessen your symptoms, shorten the time you are sick, and may prevent some serious flu complications.  These medications work best when started within 2 days of getting sick, but it can help later as well. These medications are not a substitute for the flu vaccine.

Who should take antivirals?5

Antivirals are important for people who are at high risk for serious health problems from the flu. Others can take antivirals, but most healthy people do not need them.

What antivirals are available to treat and prevent the flu?5

There are two antiviral drugs recommended by the CDC:

  • Tamiflu (oseltamivir): pill or liquid
    • For flu treatment in people 2 weeks of age and older.
    • For flu prevention in people 1 year of age and older.
  • Relenza (zanamivir): inhalation powder
  • For flu treatment in people 7 years of age and older.
  • For flu prevention in people 5 years of age and older.
  • This is not for people with breathing problems.

Side effects of antiviral drugs are uncommon and include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, runny or stuffy nose, cough, diarrhea, headache, and some behavioral effects. These medications are taken for 5 days or longer if needed and are safe for children and pregnant women. If your child’s doctor prescribed capsules and your child is having difficulty swallowing them, they can be opened and mixed with thick, sweetened liquids like chocolate syrup.6

What vaccines are available for the flu?2

  • Regular seasonal flu shot
  • High-dose: made for people over 65 years old
  • Intradermal: injected into the skin
  • Nasal spray: inhaled through the nose. This vaccine does not cause the flu.

Flu season can last from October to May. It is important that you get the vaccine as soon as it is available to make sure you are well protected.

How long does it take for the flu vaccine to start working?2

The protective effect of the flu vaccine usually starts after about two weeks. It is still possible to get the flu if you are exposed to it before that time.

Who should get the flu vaccine?2

Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year. This is especially important for people who are at high risk for serious flu-related health problems and people who are in close contact with them.

The different types of vaccines are made for different people:

  • Regular flu shot:  for everyone 6 months and older
  • High-dose: for people 65 years of age and older
  • Intradermal: for people 18 - 64 years old
  • Nasal spray: for healthy people 2 - 49 years old who are not pregnant. People who care for others who have very weak immune systems should not get this type of vaccine.

References:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seasonal Influenza (Flu): How Flu Spreads. 2013. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seasonal Influenza (Flu): Key Facts about Influenza (Flu) & Flu Vaccine. 2013. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seasonal Influenza (Flu): The Flu: Caring for Someone Sick at Home. 2013. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/homecare/index.htm.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seasonal Influenza (Flu): CDC Says “Take 3” Actions To Fight The Flu. 2013. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/preventing.htm.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seasonal Influenza (Flu): What You Should Know About Flu Antiviral Drugs. 2012. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/antivirals/whatyoushould.htm.
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seasonal Influenza (Flu): Opening and Mixing Tamiflu® Capsules with Liquids if Child Cannot Swallow Capsules. 2011. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/antivirals/mixing_tamiflu_qa.htm.

Shingles Vaccine (Read More: English | Spanish)

What is shingles?1

Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Someone who had chickenpox or received the chickenpox vaccine can get shingles. The virus stays in the body and can become active years later, causing shingles. It is possible to get the virus from someone who is infected and get chicken pox.

Who is at risk for getting shingles?2

Almost 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles and the risk increases as a person gets older. People who have medical conditions that weaken their immune systems are at greater risk of getting shingles.

What are some symptoms of shingles?3

Shingles usually starts as a painful rash on one side of the face or body that lasts for 2 - 4 weeks. There may be some pain, itching, or tingling 1 - 5 days before the rash appears. It can also affect the eye and cause vision loss. Some other symptoms include fever, headache, chills, and upset stomach. Some people can have pain after the rash clears up.1

How do I prevent shingles?4

The only way to prevent shingles is to get vaccinated.

Who should get the shingles vaccine?5

  • People 60 years old and older should get 1 dose of the Zostavax vaccine regardless of whether they had chickenpox or not.
  • The vaccine can also be given to people 50 - 59 years old.

References:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine Information Statement: Shingles Vaccine. 2009. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-shingles.pdf.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Shingles (Herpes Zoster): Overview. 2011. Available at: www.cdc.gov/shingles/about/overview.html.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Shingles (Herpes Zoster): Signs & Symptoms. 2011. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/shingles/about/symptoms.html.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Shingles (Herpes Zoster): Prevention & Treatment. 2012. Available at: www.cdc.gov/shingles/about/prevention-treatment.html.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Features: Protect Yourself against Shingles: Get Vaccinated. 2012. Available at: www.cdc.gov/features/shingles/.

Pneumococcal (Pneumonia) Vaccine

What is pneumococcal disease (pneumonia)?1

Pneumococcal disease (commonly called pneumonia) is a disease caused by a bacteria. It is a leading cause of vaccine-preventable illness and death in the United States. This disease can lead to serious infections of the lungs, blood, and covering of the brain. Pneumococcal pneumonia is spread when people who have the disease cough or sneeze.2

Who is at risk for getting pneumococcal disease?1

Anyone can get pneumococcal disease, but some people are at greater risk:

  • People 65 years and older
  • Children
  • People with a weakened immune system
  • Smokers

What are some symptoms of pneumococcal disease?1

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

What vaccines are available for pneumococcal disease?

  • PPSV (Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine) protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria and diseases and is given at age 2 and older.1
  • PCV13 (Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine) protects against 13 of the most severe types of pneumococcal bacteria and is recommended for children less than 5 years old.3

Who should get the pneumococcal vaccine?

PPSV vaccine:1

  • All adults 65 years of age and older
  • Any adult 19 through 64 years of age who is a smoker or has asthma
  • Anyone 2 - 64 years of age who has a long- term health problem, a disease or condition that weakens the body’s immune system, or is taking a drug or treatment that weakens the body’s immune system. Ask your doctor if any of these conditions apply to you.

PCV13 vaccine:2

  • Children at 2, 4, 6, and 12 - 15 months old
  • Children 24 months through 4 years who have not gotten all doses should get 1 dose.
  • Children 24 months through 5 years who have not gotten all doses and have certain medical conditions should get 1 or 2 doses. Ask your healthcare provider for details.
  • Children 6 - 18 years old with certain medical conditions may get 1 dose even if they completed all 4 doses before. Ask your healthcare provider for details.
  • Adults 19 years of age or older with certain medical conditions who have not gotten PCV13 before. Ask your healthcare provider for details.

Adults with certain medical conditions should get 1 dose of PCV13 and then continue with the usual doses of PPSV. Ask your healthcare provider for details.

References:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine Information Statement: Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine. 2009. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-ppv.pdf.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccines and Preventable Diseases: Pneumococcal Disease In-Short. 2012. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/pneumo/in-short-both.htm.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine Information Statement: Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine. 2013.  Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-pcv.pdf.

Whooping Cough/Tetanus/Diphtheria Vaccine

What are these diseases?

Whooping Cough:1

Whooping cough (also called pertussis) is a very contagious airway disease caused by a bacteria. It gets its name from the “whooping” sound made when gasping for air after coughing fits. These coughing spells can last for up to 10 weeks. In 2011, 18,719 cases of whooping cough were reported in the US. It is spread when people who have the disease cough or sneeze.2

Tetanus:3

Tetanus (also called lockjaw) is an infection caused by a bacteria found everywhere in the environment. It can get into your body through broken skin.

Diphtheria:4

Diphtheria is a serious, possible deadly, disease caused by a toxin (poison) from a bacteria. It is spread when a person with the disease coughs or sneezes.

What are some symptoms of these diseases?

Whooping cough:5

  • Usually starts with cold-like symptoms: runny nose, mild fever, and mild cough
  • Severe coughing fits that begin after 1 - 2 weeks
    • Violent, rapid coughing that forces all the air from your lungs. This may be severe enough to cause vomiting and make you tired. The “whooping” sound may not be present in children and adults who have been vaccinated.
  • It can be deadly in Infants who may have a pause in their breathing pattern called apnea.

Tetanus:6

  • Headache
  • Jaw cramping
  • Sudden, involuntary muscle tightening (muscle spasms)
  • Painful muscle stiffness
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Jerking or staring (seizures)
  • Fever, sweating
  • High blood pressure, fast heart rate
  • Tetanus can lead to broken bones, other infections, and even death in 10 - 20% of cases

Diphtheria:4

  • Starts like a cold: sore throat, mild fever, and chills
  • Thick blue or grayish coating on the back of the nose or throat that makes it hard to breathe or swallow.
  • The toxin can attack the heart, causing abnormal heart rhythms or heart failure, or attack the nerves, causing paralysis.

How do I prevent these diseases?

Whooping cough:7

The best way to prevent whooping cough is to get vaccinated. Infants and others at high risk for whooping cough should stay away from people who are infected. Antibiotics may be given to close contacts of a person with whooping cough.

Tetanus:8

The best way to prevent tetanus is to get vaccinated. It also helps to get immediate, proper wound care when needed.

Diphtheria:

The best way to prevent diphtheria is to get vaccinated. It may also help to avoid contact with people who have the disease.

What vaccines are available for these diseases?5

  • DTaP: protects infants and children, up to 7 years old, from diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw), and pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Td: for repeat doses to protect against tetanus (lockjaw) and diphtheria
  • Tdap: for repeat doses to protect against tetanus (lockjaw), diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough)

Who should get these vaccines?9

  • Infants and children should get 5 doses of DTaP, one each at 2, 4, 6, 15 - 18 months, and 4 - 6 years of age.
  • Children 7 - 10 years old should get 1 dose of Tdap if they did not get all 5 doses of DTaP.
  • Children 11 - 12 years old should get 1 dose of Tdap.
  • Teens and adults who did not get Tdap at 11 or 12 should get 1 dose when possible.
  • Pregnant women should get 1 dose of Tdap during each pregnancy, preferable at 27 - 36 weeks. This will help protect the newborn baby.
  • Tdap should be given at least two weeks before coming into close contact with an infant.
  • Adults should get 1 dose of Td every 10 years. One of these doses should be replaced with Tdap.

References:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pertussis (Whooping Cough): Fast Facts. 2012. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/fast-facts.html.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pertussis (Whooping Cough): Causes & Transmission. 2012. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/about/causes-transmission.html.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tetanus: Causes and Transmission. 2013. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/tetanus/about/causes-transmission.html.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccines and Immunizations: Diphtheria - Fact Sheet for Parents. 2012. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/diphtheria/fs-parents.html.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pertussis (Whooping Cough): Signs & Symptoms. 2013. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/about/signs-symptoms.html.
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tetanus: Symptoms and Complications. 2013. Available at: www.cdc.gov/tetanus/about/symptoms-complications.html.
  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pertussis (Whooping Cough): Prevention. 2013. Available at: www.cdc.gov/pertussis/about/prevention.html.
  8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tetanus: Prevention. 2013. Available at: www.cdc.gov/tetanus/about/prevention.html.
  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Features: Pertussis (Whooping Cough) - What You Need to Know. 2013. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Pertussis/.

Meningococcal (Meningitis) Vaccine

What is meningococcal disease (meningitis)?1

Meningococcal disease (commonly known as meningitis) is a very serious bacterial illness. About 1,000 – 1,200 people get meningococcal disease every year in the U.S. The bacteria that causes meningococcal disease is spread through close contact with secretions like saliva.2

Who is at risk for getting meningococcal disease?1

It is most common in infants less than one year of age and people 16-21 years. Children with certain medical conditions, such as lack of a spleen, also have an increased risk of getting meningococcal disease.

What are some symptoms of meningococcal disease?3

Symptoms of meningococcal meningitis (infection of the brain and spinal cord) usually show up 3 - 7 days after you get the disease and include:

  • Sudden fever
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Confusion

An infant with meningococcal meningitis may:

  • Seem to act slow or irritable
  • Vomit
  • Feed poorly

If you get meningococcal disease in your blood (known as septicemia), you may notice:

  • Feeling tired
  • Vomiting
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Cold chills
  • Severe aches and pains in muscles, joints, chest, or belly
  • Fast breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Dark purple rash

Call your doctor immediately if you notice these symptoms.

How do I prevent meningococcal disease?4

Keeping up to date with your vaccines is the best way to prevent you from getting meningococcal disease. It can also help to avoid close contact with people who have the disease. People who live with, or have close contact with (like a boyfriend or girlfriend), someone with meningococcal disease should take antibiotics to help prevent them from getting it.

What vaccines are available for meningococcal disease?1

  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) is for people 55 years of age and younger.
  • Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV4) is for people older than 55.

These vaccines protect you against the most common types of meningococcal disease.

Who should get the meningococcal vaccine?1

  • Two doses of MCV4 are recommended for people 11 - 18 years of age: the first dose at 11 or 12 years of age, with another dose at age 16.
    • Those with HIV infection should get three doses: 2 doses 2 months apart at 11 or 12 years, plus a second dose at age 16.
    • If the first dose (or series) is given between 13 and 15 years of age, the second one should be given between 16 and 18. If the first dose (or series) is given at 16-years-old or older, a second dose is not needed.

References:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine Information Statement: Meningococcal Vaccine. 2011.  Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-mening.pdf
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meningococcal Disease: Causes and Transmission. 2012. Available at: www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/causes-transmission.html.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meningococcal Disease: Signs and Symptoms. 2012. Available at: www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/symptoms.html.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meningococcal Disease: Prevention. 2012. Available at: www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/prevention.html.

HPV Vaccine

What is HPV?1

Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). About 79 million Americans have HPV and around 14 million people become infected each year. There are over 40 different types of HPV that can affect the genital areas, mouth, and throat in both males and females. You can get HPV through genital contact even when the infected person has no symptoms. In some rare cases, a pregnant woman with genital HPV can pass the disease on to her baby during delivery.

Who is at risk for getting HPV?1

Any man or woman who is sexually active can get HPV. People with weak immune systems may not be able to fight it off and are more likely to develop health problems from it.

What are some health problems and symptoms of HPV?1

In most cases, HPV goes away by itself after two years before causing any health problems. Most people do not even know they have it. In some people, HPV can cause serious health problems that depend on the type of HPV they have. There is no way to know who will develop these problems.

Some of the health problems caused by HPV include:

  • Genital warts
  • Warts in the throat
  • Cervical cancer
  • Genital cancers
  • A type of cancer in the back of the throat

Warts appear as a small bump or group of bumps in the affected area. They can show up weeks or months after becoming infected. If untreated, they might go away, stay the same, or get worse. The warts that grow in the throat can happen in children and adults and may cause trouble breathing. The types of HPV that cause warts do not cause cancer. Cancer can take years to develop and they usually don’t have symptoms until very late. Women aged 21 - 65 years should get regular screenings by their doctors to check for cervical cancer.

How do I prevent HPV?1

HPV vaccines can help prevent you from getting the disease. They are safe and effective at preventing the most common types of HPV that can cause health problems.  Speak to your pharmacist or physician about ways to prevent HPV. 

What vaccines are available for HPV?1

For girls and women:

  • Cervarix: protects against most cervical cancers
  • Gardasil : protects against most cervical, anal, vaginal, and vulvar cancers as well as genital warts.

For boys and men:

  • Gardasil: protects against genital warts and anal cancer.

The vaccines are given in three shots over six months for the best protection.

Who should get the HPV vaccine?1

  • HPV vaccines are recommended for 11- or 12-year-old boys and girls. The vaccine provides the best protection and is more effective at that age.
  • Girls and women should get either Gardasil or Cervarix at 11 or 12 years old or at 13 - 26 years if they didn’t get all three shots before. They can also get the vaccines starting at 9 years old.
  • Boys and men should get Gardasil at 11 or 12 years old or at 13 - 21 years if they didn’t get all three shots before. They can also get Gardasil at 22 - 26 years old.
  • Men who have sex with men should get Gardasil at 11 or 12 years old or at 13 - 26 years if they didn’t get all three shots before.
  • The HPV vaccines have not been shown to be effective in people over 26 years old.2

References:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs): Genital HPV Infection - Fact Sheet. 2013. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/HPV/STDFact-HPV.htm.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccines and Preventable Diseases: HPV Vaccine - Questions & Answers. 2012. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/hpv/vac-faqs.htm.