Vaccinations Matter: How We Can — and Should — Protect Ourselves and Community

No one wants to get sick. Thanks to vaccines, we have a strong line of defense against many illnesses. Vaccines are a safe, effective method of preventative care, which can stop the spread of preventable illnesses and reduce symptom severity. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance and effectiveness of vaccines in fighting and preventing the spread of diseases. Although vaccine development is a complex process that requires rigorous testing and regulatory approval, vaccines have proven to be incredibly effective in preventing and eradicating harmful diseases, ultimately paving the path to a healthier future. 

Why it Matters

When you get vaccinated, you’re not just protecting yourself. You’re protecting your family, your immunocompromised loved ones, and your community. When the majority of a population is vaccinated, it significantly reduces the overall risk. 

People with compromised immune systems are often more strongly impacted by sickness. Immunocompromised populations include: children, the elderly, and individuals with weakened immune systems as a result of certain medical conditions, medications, or other medical treatments. 

COVID-19 Vaccines

Although the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency expires May 11, 2023, COVID-19 is here to stay. It is important to stay up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines. 

Whether you are insured or uninsured, COVID-19 vaccines are still free to all individuals living in the United States until further notice. Visit to find a list of nearby locations. 

Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy

There are many common misconceptions or disinformation revolving around vaccines, their components, their purpose, and their side effects. If you encounter these claims, particularly on social media, we strongly encourage you to consider the source of the accusation and their credibility. Disinformation may deter someone from receiving a vaccine or other medical treatment, which can put them at risk of contracting a preventable illness. 

This handy guide, “How Vaccines and Developed and Approved for Use” from the Centers for Disease Control, thoroughly explains the process of vaccine development, trials, and continued monitoring. 

Types of Vaccines

There are several types of vaccines available, as explained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including: 

  • Inactivated vaccines — Involves deceased germ
  • Live-attenuated vaccines — Involves weakened germ
  • Messenger RNA vaccines — Involves no live virus, involves creation of proteins to “trigger an immune response”
  • Subunit, recombinant, polysaccharide, and conjugate vaccines — Involves extracted elements of germ
  • Toxoid vaccines — Involves byproduct of germ
  • Viral vector vaccines — Involves “modified version of different virus” 

Common Vaccines

  • COVID-19  — Free to all individuals living in the United States, visit for more information about accessibility
  • Influenza “Flu” shot  
  • DTaP (Diphtheria and Tetanus and Acellular Pertussis or “Whooping Cough” Adsorbed)
  • Tdap (Tetanus Toxoid, Reduced Diphtheria Toxoid and Acellular Pertussis or “Whooping Cough” Adsorbed)
  • Haemophilus b Conjugate
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Herpes Zoster “Shingles”
  • HPV (Human Papillomavirus) 
  • MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella)
  • Meningococcal A, C, W, Y, or B
  • Pneumococcal 13-valent Conjugate
  • Poliovirus
  • Rotavirus  
  • Varicella “Chickenpox” 

You may be advised to get vaccinated for other diseases depending on a number of factors, including: age, occupation, travel, intimate partnerships, immunocompromisation, pregnancy, or whether you are affected by Substance Use Disorder (SUD).

Which vaccines do I need? 

Valley Health patients will have their vaccination information in their e-health record, accessible through the safe and convenient Valley Health MyChart mobile app or website. Patients who are not established with Valley Health should request their vaccination records from their health care provider. 

Need to get vaccinated? 

We’re happy to help! Visit one of our six Valley Health pharmacies and request your vaccine. Patients who are not established with Valley Health must bring a copy of their vaccination record. Uninsured individuals may be able to receive vaccines for 

What will it cost? 

Many vaccines are covered through health insurance. People who are not insured can receive vaccines at low- or no costs through local health departments and other federally-funded health centers. COVID-19 vaccines are free to all individuals living in the United States. Visit for more information.

For more information on vaccinations and accessibility, use the following resources:

* = Downloadable charts available


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