Harrisburg, PA – As recent measles outbreaks make headlines across the U.S., the Department of Health is encouraging all Pennsylvanians to get vaccinated so they are protected against measles and other serious illnesses, such a mumps and hepatitis, that can be life-threatening.

“It is essential that all Pennsylvanians from infants to older adults are up-to-date on all recommended immunizations,” Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Vaccines are a safe and effective way to protect yourself from serious, life-threatening diseases. Getting your vaccinations can help protect those around you, including those with compromised immune systems who cannot get vaccinated.“

Vaccines are needed to protect infants, children and teens from serious childhood diseases. Even if you or your child have not previously been vaccinated, you can get vaccinated now. Vaccine-preventable diseases can be very dangerous, may require hospitalization, and can even result in death. A discussion with your doctor or your child’s doctor can help determine which vaccines are needed.

In 2017, state school requirements reduced the provisional period in which students could attend school without their vaccinations from eight months to five days. Staying up-to-date with immunizations provides the best protection against disease.

Vaccines are recommended for adults to prevent serious diseases such as hepatitis, influenza (flu), pneumonia, shingles and whooping cough. Other vaccine recommendations vary based on age, lifestyle, medical conditions, occupation, past vaccinations and travel destinations.

The Department of Health offers immunization clinics year-round across the state. Any child or adult who does not have insurance coverage or if insurance does not cover the necessary vaccinations and meets the requirements can get their vaccines at one of the state health centers or local health departments.

Anyone looking to visit a local immunization clinic to receive vaccinations should call 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) to schedule an appointment. Pennsylvanians should have their vaccination records available when they call to make an appointment. A parent or legal guardian must accompany a child receiving vaccinations.

“Staying current with your immunizations is an important step to protect yourself and your loved ones against serious diseases,” Dr. Levine said. “Immunizations provide protection that is needed by both children and adults to help them stay as healthy as possible.”

Additional information on immunizations can be found on the Department of Health’s website at health.pa.gov or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.