Adult Immunization FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

How serious are vaccine-preventable diseases?

Although we do not see vaccine-preventable diseases as frequently due to a higher rate of people getting immunized, these diseases continue to be very serious. Historically, diseases have had high hospitalization and/or mortality rates. Before immunizations were given in the United States, about 6,000 people died each year due to measles. During the 1920s, about 150,000 cases of diphtheria were reported and caused 14,000 deaths annually. Before 1979, about 35,000 people annually were infected with polio each year. Since then, the United States has been polio-free because of immunizations.

How do immunizations work?

During an immunization, you receive a weakened or inactivated form of the disease, which passes through your body without causing illness. Using this weakened form of the disease, your body produces antibodies and white blood cells to specifically combat the disease, thus providing immunity. For example, in most cases, when you develop chickenpox (varicella), you get sick but then are immune to the disease once you recover. The immunity is developed because your body learns to recognize the disease and your antibodies work to prevent you from getting sick again. Immunizations work the same way, except you do not have to be subjected to the possible symptoms of the disease.

Are immunizations safe?

Yes, in most cases, immunizations are safe and effective and cause little to no side effects. Most reactions are mild such as fever, a bruise, or soreness at the injection site. Before immunizations are licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they are tested extensively to ensure their safety. Each person is unique and may react differently to an immunization. Very rarely, people have more serious side effects, but the benefits of immunizations far outweigh the risks they may have. Check with your doctor about pre-immunization screening and potential side effects.

Why are immunizations important?

Immunizations have succeeded in decreasing the number of infectious diseases that once posed a constant threat to people around the globe. However, these vaccine-preventable diseases are still present throughout many of our communities. Without being properly immunized, you increase your risk of exposing yourself and your loved ones to these diseases. For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control.

Where can I get my immunizations?

You can get your immunizations from your healthcare provider, at a nearby health clinic, local health department, or pharmacy. For more information on how to receive immunizations, contact your healthcare provider, local health department, or the Texas Department of State Health Services.

How much do immunizations cost?

If you are insured: Most health insurance plans provide service coverage that includes immunizations. For more information, contact your healthcare or insurance provider.

If you are uninsured: You may qualify for the Adult Safety Net Program.

Should I have a personal immunization record?

The Texas Immunization Registry, ImmTrac2, provides a consolidated record of your immunizations. This confidential record allows you and your healthcare provider to see which immunizations you have received, and which ones you need, allowing you to stay up to date with your immunizations.

For more information about the immunization registry, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services ImmTrac2 website.

Where can I get more information?

For more information on immunizations, contact your healthcare provider, local health department, the Texas Department of State Health Services, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.