Immunizations, also known as vaccines, keep children safe. They keep your child healthy and reduce rates of infant mortality. When immunization rates in a community are high, we are less likely to experience outbreaks of preventative disease and we work together to protect vulnerable members of our community with suppressed immune systems. These include babies who are too young to be immunized, people with weak immune systems due to disease or medical treatments, unvaccinated pregnant women, seniors, and anyone allergic to a vaccine. Experts recommend that between 80-94% of people in a community need to be vaccinated to keep everyone safe- this is called community immunity.

Are vaccines safe?

Yes. While there are risks to all medical procedures, such as an allergic reaction, the benefits to immunizing your child outweigh the risks. Your doctor will discuss with you how to recognize allergic or adverse reactions to immunizations and will space vaccines in a way that finds a good balance between protecting your child as soon as possible and keeping the risk of negative reactions low. All vaccines undergo extensive testing, safety monitoring, and frequent checks for effectiveness. The Centers for Disease Control has detailed and reliable information about safety concerns, possible side eggects, and the process vaccines undergo before being administered to your child. There is a lot of misinformation about immunizations that may be confusing. Always bring your concerns to your doctor and s/he can answer your questions and develop a plan you feel comfortable with.

When should my child be immunized?

Your doctor will help you create a plan that is right for your child. In general, the Centers for Disease Control recommend the following schedule:


Recommended Immunizations for Children from Birth through 6 years Old: By Age

United States, 2016

Shaded boxes indicate the vaccine can be given during shown age range.
month 1
1 month
month 2
2 months
month 3
4 months
month 6
6 months
month 12
12 months
month 15
15 months
month 18
18 months
month 19-23
year 2-3
year 4-6
HepB HepB HepB
Hib Hib Hib Hib
Varicella Varicella

Scrolling through the chart, you can view recommended ages and learn about the diseases you will protect your child from by vaccinating on schedule. You can also download a printable worksheet.

Of course, pregnant women need to make sure that they are vaccinated to protect their unborn child. If you’re worried your immunizations are not up to date, talk to your doctor at an early prenatal visit. Some vaccines are safe to receive during pregnancy, and others will have to wait until you give birth. Your doctor will help you ensure that you have received the proper immunizations before, during, and after pregnancy. This chart can help you plan ahead.

How much do immunizations cost?

Don’t let cost be a concern when it comes to vaccinating your child. Nearly all children’s health insurance, including Medi-Cal, covers the cost of immunizing a child as preventive care. If not, the Vaccines for Children Program is a federally funded effort to provide immunizations free of charge to children who are uninsured, underinsured, or American Indian or Alaska Natives. Ask your doctor to connect you with this resource if you have concerns.

Where do I take my child to get immunized?

Immunizations are typically part of your well-child visits. If you have health insurance or Medi-Cal, your child will receive immunizations from your doctor. If you are uninsured, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department runs immunization clinics. You can locate the clinic nearest you here and schedule an appointment for your child.


The County of Santa Barbara Public Health Department’s Immunization Project provides up to date and local information about current concerns and resources. You can also review the threat level of different diseases in our community.

Shots for School tracks all child care facilities and kindergartens with 10 or more students. You can review immunization rates for your current or potential child care providers.