The Philadelphia Immunization Program keeps Philadelphia healthy by averting vaccine-preventable diseases and increasing immunization coverage. The Immunization Program allows eligible children and adults to get vaccinated for free by operating programs like Vaccines for Children (VFC), Vaccines for Adults at Risk (VFAAR), and the annual Flu Clinics. The Immunization Program also manages the Philadelphia Immunization Information System (PhilaVax IIS), an expansive database that tracks every dose of vaccine given within the city. Combining these programs and resources allows the Immunization Program to find and support under-vaccinated communities.

Are you a healthcare provider? Click here to visit the Philadelphia Immunization Program website and find clinical resources, the PhilaVax login portal, and program information.

 

Why Should I Get Vaccinated?

Vaccines teach our immune systems how to effectively fight dangerous diseases. Getting vaccinated keeps you healthy and out of the hospital. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccines for a wide variety of diseases. Some of them, like flu and chickenpox (varicella), are pretty common. You may have heard of others – like meningitis, tetanus, and hepatitis. 

But, some diseases you may not have heard of. Hib? Measles, mumps, rubella? Polio? Whooping cough? Why bother vaccinating against rare diseases that we barely hear of? Well – these diseases are unfamiliar because they’re uncommon – and they’re uncommon because of vaccines. 

Below are charts mapping the decline of vaccine preventable disease deaths in Philadelphia over the past 100 years. As vaccines have become more widely available and effective, less Philadelphians have died from disease.

   


   

Why Should My Kids Get Vaccinated?

Babies and small children are especially vulnerable to disease. To keep babies and children healthy, doctors recommend a 19 part vaccine series (known as the 4:3:1:3:3:1:4 vaccine series) for all children within their first 35 months of age. By receiving these 19 doses of vaccine, your child will be protected against 11 dangerous diseases during their childhood. 

However, pediatric vaccines don't stop at 35 months of age. Teenagers also need additional vaccines, especially as they become sexually active. An additional dose of TDaP is recommended for adolescents between 13 and 17 years of age, and the CDC recommends that all adolescents receive their HPV vaccine to prevent certain cancers as they enter adulthood. 

By receiving vaccines, your child is protecting other children as well. When enough members of a community get vaccinated, that community’s chances of spreading disease lessens. This is known as herd immunity. Entire diseases can be eradicated if enough people around the world get vaccinated! When we vaccinate our children we are keeping our daycare facilities, playgrounds, and schools disease-free. 

Below are maps of Philadelphia showing the current coverage rates of CDC recommended vaccine for children and adolescents. The Immunization Program works with parents and their communities to encourage recommended vaccination of all children and adolescents within the city. By keeping our kids vaccinated, we can eradicate vaccine preventable diseases in Philadelphia!

   


Can I Get Vaccinated for Free?

Eligible children and adults can receive free vaccines from the Vaccines for Children (VFC) and Vaccines for Adults at Risk (VFAAR) programs respectively, and the Immunization Program hosts Community Flu Clinics every October to provide free flu shots to the under-insured.


Vaccines for Children (VFC)

VFC allows enrolled health care providers to give free immunizations to eligible children. The goal of VFC is to remove cost as a barrier from receiving timely immunizations. 

Your child is eligible for VFC if they are:

  • Medicaid-eligible
  • Uninsured
  • Native American or Alaska Native


Vaccines for Adults at Risk (VFAAR)

VFAAR makes free vaccine available to select providers serving adults at high-risk for vaccine preventable diseases. VFAAR program sites include HIV treatment centers, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), methadone maintenance programs, family planning centers, STD clinics, and primary care clinics. The goal of VFAAR is to serve the most medically at-risk adults in Philadelphia. 

You are eligible for VFAAR if you are:

  • Between the ages of 19 and 64 years old
  • Uninsured


Community Flu Clinics

Every October, the Immunization Program coordinates a citywide influenza vaccine campaign for adults. Flu Clinics vaccinate adults aged 19 through 64 years of age who do have health insurance and have no alternative source for medical care, or who are unable to access their usual source of care.


Where Can I Get Free Vaccines?


Ask your doctor if they are enrolled in the VFC or VFAAR program. If you don't have a doctor, or are uninsured, you can receive VFC or VFAAR vaccine at any Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).

You can find a Community Flu Clinic near you here.

 

What Vaccines Does My Child Need for School or Daycare?

School Requirements

Before attending any Philadelphia schools, students from all grade levels must have received the following vaccines: 

  • Diphtheria, Tetanus, & Acellular Pertussis (DTap), 4 doses
  • Polio (IPV), 4 doses
  • Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR), 2 doses
  • Hepatitis B (Hep B), 3 doses
  • Chickenpox (Varicella), 2 doses

In addition to the above vaccines, before entering the 7th grade Philadelphia students must receive these additional vaccines: 

  • Tetanus, Diphtheria, & Acellular Pertussis (Tdap), 1 dose
  • Meningococcal Conjugate (MCV4), 1 dose 

In addition to the above vaccines, before entering the 12th grade Philadelphia students must receive this additional vaccine:

  • Meningococcal Conjugate (MCV4), 2 doses


Daycare Requirements

All children 6 months - 5 years old who attend any group child care facility in Philadelphia must receive a dose of flu vaccine between September 1st and December 31st every year. You may be asked by your child care facility to provide documentation of your child receiving their flu shot. 

Need vaccines for your child but you don’t have a doctor or insurance? Visit a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC)! The FQHCs can give your child the vaccines they need to stay healthy and enter school.


Have questions about immunizations? Want to know when the next flu clinic is? Do you need help getting vaccinated?

Email us at vaccines@phila.gov or call our immunization hotline at 215-685-6784.