Skip to content
Skip to content
Open navigation

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 7-18 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 adolescent vaccinations.


Adult Vaccine Recommendations are revised each year (late January to early February). Health care providers and consumers should check the CDC site annually to ensure up-to-date information is being used.

According to the CDC, adults need protection from “childhood” diseases since the effectiveness of some vaccines can wear off over time. Please review a summary of vaccines recommended for adults:

  1. All adults should receive the seasonal influenza (flu) vaccine every year. This vaccine is particularly important for those with chronic conditions, pregnant women, and older adults.
  2. The pertussis booster (Tdap – tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) is recommended if not received as an adolescent. Tdap is intended as a 1-time replacement for the Td (tetanus and diphtheria) booster that is given every 10 years. Additionally, women should receive Tdap during each pregnancy, preferably between 27 through 36 weeks of gestation.
  3. Women 19-26 years of age are recommended to receive the HPV (human papilloma virus vaccine). Males up to age 21 are recommended to receive the HPV vaccine. Men who have sex with men should receive the HPV vaccine from ages 22-26.
  4. Immunizations: Young Adults & College
  5. Adults 60 years of age and older are also recommended to be vaccinated against pneumococcal disease and shingles (zoster).
  6. Healthcare workers are at risk for Hepatitis BVaricella (chickenpox), MMR (measles, mumps & rubella) and meningococcal disease and should be vaccinated unless titers reflect immunization.
  7. Adults with any of the following conditions: aspleniadiabetes, heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, HIV infection, liver disease, lung disease (including asthma), renal disease, or a weakened immune system – should consult their doctor or other healthcare professional to determine which other vaccines are recommended based on current status, age and lifestyle.
  8. If traveling internationally, the traveler should consult the CDC Travel Site prior to travel. Immunizations should be given a minimum of 14 days prior to travel to allow sufficient time for immunity to develop.

**Please note: The CDC, in conjunction with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) annually publishes updated vaccine recommendations.

Current (2017) adult immunization recommendations can be found at  Included on this site are the current adult schedule, in graph form, and a page of footnotes. The footnotes must be read and understood by the provider prior to making any recommendations or administration of vaccine.

If you have specific questions about vaccines that cannot be answered by your state epidemiologist or local health department, you can contact the CDC at:

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 14 vaccine-avoidable diseases and are 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

Binational Vaccinations: Vaccinations that have been administered in Mexico may not meet U.S. immunization standards. Review the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2016 recommendations.

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

How Vaccines Prevent Diseases
Includes illustrations to help you better understand how vaccines protect children from diseases.

Parents’ Guide to Childhood Immunizations
An easy to-read-guide for parents to learn about how immunization protects infants and children.

10 Things You Need to Know about Immunizations

For Parents: Are Vaccinations Safe: Immunizations FAQs

VIDEO: Welcome to Parenthood 
A 50 second video looks at the challenges new parents face when vaccinating their infant.

Parents’ Guide to Childhood Immunizations
The Parents' Guide to Childhood Immunizations assists parents and caregivers understand the role vaccines play in helping to keep children healthy.

Every Child by Two's campaign, "Vaccinate Your Baby"

Don’t be deceived by immunization myths and incorrect information. Vaccines protect children by vaccination. Delaying or refusing vaccines places children across the country at risk for diseases like Hib, whooping cough and measles.

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

Tips for a Less Stressful Shot Visit

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. 

Well Child Visit Tracker

An easy-to-read schedule of recommended immunizations for children from birth to 6 years old, along with descriptions of vaccine-preventable diseases on the back.

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

Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases: The Pink Book: Course Textbook. 12th Edition Second Printing (May 2012).

The Pink Book is a resource for health care providers and the health care consumer and provides comprehensive information on vaccine-preventable diseases.

The Red Book (updated recommendations 9/22/2014).
An online resource for health care providers and consumers to receive up-to-date infection disease news.

Frequently Asked Questions

Six common misconceptions about immunization
In partnership, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) dispel immunization myths and misconceptions that would hinder childhood vaccinations. 

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.

Too Many Vaccines?
Vaccinate Your Baby 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

Immunizations safeguard individuals from vaccine-preventable diseases throughout the entire lifespan. Protection from some childhood vaccines may wear off or lose potency over time which may place you at risk for vaccine-preventable disease due to your environment, employment, lifestyle, travel, and/or overall health conditions. Please review provided resources to maintain optimal health.

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:

You are now leaving the American Nurses Foundation

The American Nurses Foundation is a separate charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation does not engage in political campaign activities or communications.

The Foundation expressly disclaims any political views or communications published on or accessible from this website.

Continue Cancel

Item(s) added to cart

Go to cart Continue Shopping