State Department of Health Encourages All New Yorkers to Get Vaccinated - and Stay Up to Date With Vaccinations - In Recognition of National Immunization Awareness Month

From Polio and Monkeypox, to COVID-19 and Influenza, Proven Vaccines Keep Our Families Safe and Our Communities Healthy

Learn more about vaccines and routine immunizations here

ALBANY, N.Y. (August 25, 2022) – With the start of a new school year on the horizon, and as viruses – new and old – spread in our communities, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) recognizes National Immunization Month by urging New Yorkers to ensure they and their children are up to date with all recommended immunizations. Receiving all recommended doses of vaccines will safeguard New York families and communities against emergent public health threats including COVID-19, monkeypox, and paralytic polio, among many others. As back to school season kicks-off, healthcare providers, parents and guardians can play a meaningful role in ensuring the on-time administration of immunizations among school-aged children.

"Vaccines are a safe, proven and important way to safeguard your health and the health of those around you," State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said."We are committed to ensuring every New Yorker can access critically important immunizations and good information about all recommended vaccines. New Yorkers, especially pediatricians, parents and guardians, should take an active role in ensuring school-aged children are up to date with all new and required vaccinations."

The re-appearance of paralytic polio, which can result in life-long disability, coupled with other emergent health threats, including COVID-19 and monkeypox, underscores the importance of communities maintaining immunity across populations through vaccinations.

As back to school season kicks-off, NYSDOH reminds parents and guardians that all children in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 attending public, private or religious schools in New York must receive their recommended vaccine doses to attend and remain in school. In addition to these required immunizations, staying up to date with recommended COVID-19 vaccines and receiving an annual flu shot will protect children against these viruses and developing severe disease.

Access to vaccines is an integral component of the Department's commitment to health equity for all New Yorkers. The New York State Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to eligible children. Children younger than 19 years of age who are Medicaid-enrolled, uninsured or underinsured, or are American Indian or Alaska Native are eligible to receive publicly funded vaccines at public health clinics enrolled as VFC providers.

Learn more about the VFC Program here. Vaccines are also administered at private physician's offices and through your local health department. For additional information on where to get immunizations for children, call the NYS VFC Program at 800-543-7468 or send an email to

Immunization is also an important tool to prevent certain cancers later in life. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common infection, with estimates that one in every four Americans is infected. HPV can cause many types of cancer, including mouth, throat, cervical, vaginal, vulvar, penile and anal cancers and can be passed to others during sex.

When the HPV vaccine is administered to pre-teens, teens and young adults, it can prevent cancer from developing in adulthood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infections that cause most HPV cancers and genital warts have dropped by 88 percent among teen girls since the vaccine was first used in the United States in 2006. You can learn more about the HPV vaccine here.

NYSDOH also recommends a number of adult immunizations including pneumonia, tetanus (lockjaw), diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), and hepatitis. People who have not completed their polio vaccine series previously should get immunized right away and ensure they stay up to date with their polio immunization schedule.

The Department of Health also offers a comprehensive to guide to influenza information on our website, including a tool that tracks cases during flu season, which according to the CDC, generally runs from fall through spring.

Research has proven vaccines are safe and effective at preventing disease. The re-emergence of many preventable diseases such as polio, measles and whooping cough can be traced to lack of immunization among those who fear vaccines, often due to belief in misinformation.

New Yorkers who are concerned or have questions about vaccine safety should reach out to a healthcare provider, medical professional, and follow trusted and credible sources of health information and news including from NYSDOH and local county health departments. New Yorkers can also learn more about vaccine safety from the CDC.

New Yorkers can visit these sites for more information:

  1. Polio information
  2. Vaccines and Immunization
  3. School Vaccination Requirements and 2022-23 School Year Immunization Requirements
  4. NYS #VaxForKids and NYS COVID-19 Vaccines for Children 6 Months and Older
  5. HPV Vaccine Information
  6. Monkeypox information