Houston health department

Information for Parents

Immunizations have had an enormous impact on improving the health of children in the United States and most parents today have never seen first-hand the devastating consequences that vaccine-preventable diseases have on a child, a family, or community. While these diseases are not common in the U.S., they persist around the world. It is important that we continue to protect our children with vaccines because outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases like pertussis, mumps, and measles continue to occur in this country.

Vaccination is one of the best ways parents can protect infants, children, and teens from the 16 potentially harmful vaccine-preventable diseases. These diseases can be very serious, may require hospitalization, or even be deadly — especially in infants and young children.

All vaccines used in the United States require extensive safety testing for years -- sometimes even decades -- before they are licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA and the CDC work with doctors and other health-care professionals throughout the U.S. to continually monitor the safety of vaccines. Learn more about how vaccines are developed and approved.

You can view the CDC's Easy-to-Read Childhood Immunization Schedule and the Easy-to-Read Teen Immunization Schedule to see which vaccines are recommended for your child's age.

Create a Customized Schedule of Vaccines Needed (birth to 6 years)Placeholder Graphic:
Use this tool to create a personalized schedule you can give to and discuss with parents. Parents also can use this print-out to record their child's vaccinations

Texas Vaccines for Children

The Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program helps provide vaccines to children whose parents or guardians may not be able to afford them. This helps ensure that all children have a better chance of getting their recommended vaccinations on schedule. Vaccines available through the VFC Program are those recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Today, there are more than 500 providers enrolled in TVFC in Houston/Harris County.

These vaccines protect babies, young children, and adolescents from the following disease

Under TVFC, the following groups of children (birth – 18 years of age) are eligble to receive free vaccines:

  • uninsured or underinsured children,
  • children who are covered by CHIP,
  • children who are of Native American or Native Alaskan heritage, and
  • children on Medicaid.

If your child meets one of the VFC eligibility criteria listed above, the vaccine must always be provided free of charge.The vaccines have already been paid for with federal tax dollars. This means that no one can charge a fee for the vaccine itself. The provider is granted (by law) the ability to charge what is called an "administrative fee." An administrative fee is similar to a patient's co-pay, in that it helps providers offset their costs of doing business.

The administrative fee is determined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). A provider in Texas may charge a patient any amount up to, but not exceeding $14.85 for each vaccine administered. There is no lower limit, so providers have the option to charge what they feel is fair, including no charge at all. Vaccines are required to be administered even if the patient/guardian/parent is unable to pay the administration fee. Providers may not send a patient/guardian/parent to collections or charge fees for the patient’s inability to pay administration fees.

Contact your physician to confirm their participation in the Texas Vaccines for Children Program or visit one of the Houston Health Department's Immunization Clinics.

Placeholder Graphic: ImmTrac, the Texas Immunization Registry, is a no-cost service offered by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). It is a secure and confidential registry available to all Texans. ImmTrac safely consolidates and stores immunization information from multiple sources electronically in one centralized system. Texas law requires written consent for ImmTrac participation and limits access to the registry to only those individuals who have been authorized by law.

The immunization information in ImmTrac is provided by a variety of sources, including private health-care providers, pharmacies, public health clinics, Medicaid claims administrators, and vital statistics. Regardless of the number of sources, each client’s immunization information is consolidated into one electronic record. Only authorized professionals such as doctors, nurses, and public health providers can access clients’ vaccination histories.

  • To register you and/or your child for ImmTrac print and complete the appropriate consent form.
  • Parental Consent Form - Use this form to register your child (aged 17 and younger)
  • Adult Consent Form - Use this form to register as an adult (aged 18 and older)
  • Mail or fax the completed form(s)to:

    Houston Health Department
    Immunization Bureau
    8000 North Stadium Drive - 5th Floor
    Houston, TX 77054
    Fax: 832.393.5241

    • Request your Immunization Record from the Houston Health Department by calling 832.393.5427.
    • Visit the DSHS ImmTrac website for more information.

    Image Library - importance of vaccination

    Placeholder GraphicThe Immunization Action Coalition's (IAC) gallery of digital images includes pictures of health professionals vaccinating children, teens, and adults; images of people affected by vaccine-preventable diseases; micrographs of viruses, bacteria, and pathology specimens; and slideshows of global immunization campaigns, past and present.

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