Vaccinations....The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Grandchild...And Yourself. GRANDPARENTS CAN HELP!


Whooping cough, measles, polio, pneumonia, mumps -- you may remember how these diseases caused serious illness or even death in our children.Today, thousands of children and older adults still get these diseases that can be prevented by VACCINATIONS.

First, you should be vaccinated against such diseases as influenza, pneumonia, tetanus and diphtheria.

Then, ask your children to vaccinate your grandchildren, or, if you take care of your grandchildren, do it yourself.

Cost? No child will be refused vaccinations because of inability to pay. Also, for older adults, Medicare, Part B, will cover influenza and pneumonia vaccinations.

Ages 50 and 65 are good times for adults to review their immunization needs, including the need for tetanus, diphtheria, pneumonia, and flu shots.

Community health centers, senior centers and boards of health offer free or low-cost vaccinations.

Vaccinations Children Should Have

  • Whooping Cough (Pertussis): The main symptoms are a violent cough, sometimes with vomiting. It can lead to pneumonia, sometimes even death,especially in infants.
  • Polio: A serious disease that may cause paralysis and death.
  • Measles: The main symptoms of measles are a rash, conjunctivitis, cough, and a highfever. Complications include ear infections, pneumonia, encephalitis, and death.
  • Mumps: The main symptoms are fever, head-ache,and swelling of cheeks or jaw. Complications include meningitis, encephalitis, and hearing loss.
  • German measles (Rubella): Rubella has mild symptoms. Having rubella during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects.
  • Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib disease): This disease causes meningitis, pneumonia, blood infections and other serious infections throughout the body.
  • Hepatitis B: Hepatitis can lead to permanent liver damage. Symptoms include nausea, jaundice, and flu-like symptoms.

Children should also have tetanus and diphtheria shots, described below.

Vaccinations Adults Should Have

  • Tetanus: This disease, also known as lockjaw, causes paralysis and, frequently, death.
  • Diphtheria: Diphtheria may have mild symptoms such as a sore throat. Complications include heart failure, difficulty breathing, and even death.
  • Influenza: Flu causes fever, chills, cough, and muscle aches. Infection can lead to pneumonia and death.
  • Pneumonia: Pneumonia's symptoms are fever, chills, chest pain, shortness of breath, cough with sputum, and, in the most serious cases, can lead to death.

Adult Vaccination Schedule

  • 18-64: Tetanus/Diphtheria, Measles, Mumps, Rubella*
  • 65+: Tetanus/Diphtheria, Influenza Pneumococcal

*One dose of measles vaccine is recommended for people born after 1956. A second dose is recommended for persons born after 1956 who are entering health care employment, who are students in post-secondary educational institutions, and those who are planning international travel.

  • Mumps vaccine is recommended for all people born after 1956.
  • Rubella vaccine is recommended for all adults, regardless of age.

Adapted from the CDC. ACIP: Update on adult immunization. MMWR 1991: 40 (RR 1-12).

For more information about vaccinations, call:

  • Your doctor or nurse
  • Your local Board of Health (listed in the yellow pages under local government)
  • The Massachusetts Department of Public Health:

Boston (617) 534-5609

Central area (508) 792-7880

Northeast area (508) 851-7261

Southeast area (508) 947-1231

Western area (413) 545-6600

Metro Boston (617) 983-6860

  • Immunization Program Boston (617) 983-6800
  • Massachusetts Department of Public Health
  • Bureau of Family and Community Health
  • Bureau of Communicable Disease control
  • Executive Office of Elder Affairs