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Special Populations

Nurses come into contact with diverse patients and communities. They care for individuals and groups from varying demographics such as race, gender, and ethnicity, but also with varying lifestyles, hobbies, travel and work locations, and treatment preferences. Some groups have greater risk for vaccine-preventable diseases, and there are specific vaccine resources for these groups. Others face a disparity in access to vaccinations, be it for financial, geographic, or cultural reasons.

In order to help these groups attain maximum vaccination coverage, nurses should help identify the vaccine and educational needs of these populations. While we are a diverse nation, we all need vaccines to promote community immunity!


Individuals 11-18 years old need immunizations in order to stay healthy and to avoid vaccine preventable diseases. Studies have revealed that preteens and adolescents are often overlooked and do not always receive recommended vaccinations. The American Academy of Family Physicians, the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend vaccines during routine adolescent well visits. Whether you are a health care provider, consumer or a caregiver, review these valuable resources from the CDC to learn about the most up-to-date information about preteen and teen vaccinations.


Adult Vaccine Recommendations are revised annually.  Health care providers and consumers should check the CDC site annually to ensure up-to-date information is being used since the CDC, in conjunction with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) annually publishes updated vaccine recommendations.

Infants & Children

Due to their immature immune system, infants and young children are especially susceptible to vaccine-preventable infectious diseases. Immunizations are crucial in the prevention and spread of vaccine-avoidable diseases and protect infants and children against dangerous complications. Immunizations are one of the most important actions a parent can do to protect their children’s health. Failure to vaccinate may mean putting children at risk for serious diseases.

**Please review the following reliable resources in order to understand the importance of infant and childhood immunizations. 

Additional resources

National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is an annual observance that stresses the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrates the achievements of immunization programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities.

Understanding the Purpose of Vaccines

Understanding How Vaccines Work
Includes information about the Immune System—The Body’s Defense Against Infection, and types of vaccines.

Childhood Immunization Resources
Promote childhood immunization in your community or among your members with resources that stress the importance and benefits of childhood vaccines.

Recommended Vaccinations for Infants and Children, Parent-Friendly Version
An easy-to-read guide to immunizations for infants and children.

For Parents: Are Vaccinations Safe: Immunizations FAQs 

Vaccinate Your Family
Science-based information to help you make an informed decision about vaccinations for you and your family.

Immunization Schedules

Parent Version of Recommended Immunizations for Children from Birth through 6 Years Old

Instant Childhood Immunization Schedule (birth through six years old)
An easy to navigate web-based and printable  tool to view the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination schedule for your child.

Healthcare Provider Visits

Make Shots Less Stressful
Deciding to vaccinate is a valuable opportunity to support the health and well-being of your child. Although you know that vaccinations keep your child healthy, it can be stressful for both you and your child. Learn simple strategies to support your child before, during, and after shots. 

How to Hold Your Child during Vaccinations
See how a comforting hold can support your child and make the vaccination process less stressful on you and your child. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Medical Management of Vaccine Reactions in Children and Teens
A step-by-step guide on the signs of symptoms of a vaccine reaction.

If You Choose Not to Vaccinate Your Child, Understand the Risks and Responsibilities
Outlines possible risks for parents who choose to delay or decline a vaccine; offers steps for parents to take to protect their child, family and others.

Vaccinate Your Family
Vaccinate Your Family a program of Every Child by Two (ECBT). A vaccine save lives and reduces disease related complications. Supported by, but not limited to, the American Academy of Pediatrics, National Foundation of Infectious Disease (NFID), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and American Academy of Family Physicians. 

Specific Health Conditions

Related Resources


Measles: CDC Update 2/27/19

From January 1 to February 21, 2019, 159* people from 10 states (CA, CO, CT, GA, IL, NJ, NY, OR, TX, and WA) have been reported as having measles. Five outbreaks (defined as 3 or more linked cases) have been reported, in Rockland County, New York; Monroe County, New York; New York City; Washington; Texas; and Illinois. Of these outbreaks, 2 outbreaks are ongoing from 2018. CDC urges healthcare professionals to ensure that all patients are up to date on MMR vaccine, including before international travel.

What Should Clinicians Do?

  • Discuss the importance of MMR vaccine with parents. Listen and respond to parents’ questions. When parents have questions, it does not necessarily mean they won’t accept vaccines. Sometimes, they simply want your answers to their questions. 
  • Ensure all patients are up to date on measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine.
    • Children need 2 doses of MMR: one dose at 12-15 months and another dose at 4-6 years.
    • Before any international travel, infants 6-11 months need 1 dose of MMR vaccine, children 12 months and older need 2 doses separated by at least 28 days, and teenagers and adults who do not have evidence of immunity against measles need 2 doses separated by at least 28 days.
  • Consider measles in patients presenting with febrile rash illness and clinically compatible measles symptoms (cough, coryza, and conjunctivitis), and ask patients about recent travel internationally or to domestic venues frequented by international travelers, as well as a history of measles exposures in their communities.
  • Promptly isolate patients with suspected measles to avoid disease transmission and immediately report the suspect measles case to the health department.
  • Obtain specimens for testing from patients with suspected measles, including viral specimens for genotyping, which can help determine the source of the virus. Contact the local health department with questions about submitting specimens for testing.


For more information, including guidelines for patient evaluation, diagnosis and management, visit:

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