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Vaccines & Immunizations

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About Vaccines

Vaccines are one of the greatest public health achievements. Thanks to vaccines, serious and often fatal diseases like polio, that were once common, are now only distant memories for most Americans.

Vaccines are the safest way to protect you, your children and your community from a long list of serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses. Vaccines protect you by preparing your immune system to recognize and fight serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases.

Immunization Clinics 

Definition of Terms

  • Immunity: Protection from an infectious disease. If you are immune to a disease, you can be exposed to it without becoming infected.
  • Vaccine: A preparation that is used to stimulate the body’s immune response against diseases. Vaccines are usually administered through needle injections, but some can be administered by mouth or sprayed into the nose.
  • Vaccination: The act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce protection from a specific disease.
  • Immunization: A process by which a person becomes protected against a disease through vaccination. This term is often used interchangeably with vaccination or inoculation.

Immunization Action Plan (IAP) Program 

  • Conducts education and outreach activities to inform healthcare professionals, day care providers and other interested groups about the benefits of vaccine preventable diseases for both adults and children.
  • Conducts assessments and follow-up visits with private healthcare providers and clinics for the purpose of assessing vaccination levels of children and updates on guidelines.
  • Assists healthcare providers with the NY State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS) functionality and entry of vaccine data.
  • Provides information for dissemination to new parents at Erie County birthing hospitals. Note: New parents and adults who anticipate contact with infants under 12 months should receive 1 dose of a pertussis containing vaccine (Tdap). 

    Vaccines for Children (Birth to 18 Years)

    Vaccines for Adults (19 Years and Older)

    Travel and Vaccinations 

    How can I obtain a copy of my immunization records?

    Parents should keep track of their child's vaccination history.  Finding old immunization records can be especially difficult, or even impossible for adults. To avoid having to hunt for old records, and possibly repeating vaccinations that cannot be documented, individuals should make sure that all immunization providers give them a written record of their vaccines. If an individual's immunization records have been lost, here are some resources for locating them: 

    • Clinic or healthcare provider where you were vaccinated.
    • Your medical record from your healthcare provider.
    • New York State law requires that schools keep individual immunization records for 6 years, or 3 years after the individual reaches age 18, whichever is longer.
    • Tips for Finding Old Immunization Records
    • FAQs on Immunization Records (CDC)
    • Obtain a free wallet-sized immunization record card from NYSDOH and record your own immunizations. Go to the Publication Order Form and order the card that you need. The NYS Adult Immunization Record is publication #2376 and NYS Childhood Immunization Record is publication #2302.

    Today an increasing number of healthcare providers and parents are also taking advantage of electronic immunization registries to keep track of their children's immunizations. 

    Additional Resources


    Maureen Polokoff RN, BSN
    Immunization Specialist
    Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) 
    Immunization Action Plan
    608 William Street 
    Buffalo, NY 14206 
    Phone: (716) 858-2373 
    Fax: (716) 858-2127

    03/02/2023 - 11:17 am