Catch Up on Your Missed Vaccinations: Tips from Family Docs

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Doctors’ Notes

Real stories by real family physicians

Staying up to date on vaccines is one of the most important ways you can help protect yourself and those around you. But we know there are many factors that might keep you or your family member from getting vaccinated. Catching up on missed vaccinations may feel overwhelming, but it’s not too late to get back on track.

Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-recommended vaccination schedule helps protect you and your loved ones against potentially serious diseases. It also helps prevent illnesses from spreading in your community. Here are the things you can do if you, your child, or other family member has fallen behind on CDC-recommended vaccinations.

  • Call your doctor’s office to schedule an appointment. You may need more than a single visit to catch up, depending on what vaccines were missed, patient age, medical conditions, or other special situations. During your visit, your doctor will outline what you can expect.
  • Feel free to ask about safety precautions. If you aren’t comfortable with an in-person visit, schedule a call with your doctor and discuss your concerns. Most healthcare offices have stringent safety processes in place.
  • Work with your doctor to develop a plan to catch up. Some vaccines require a certain amount of time between doses, also known as minimum intervals. Your doctor can outline a CDC-recommended plan that documents the routine and missed vaccines you or your family member needs, and the time needed between doses, so you get caught up as soon as possible.
  • If you’re concerned about health insurance, there are other options. If you’re missing vaccination due to cost or lack of insurance, there are several options that provide free and low-cost vaccinations. This includes the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, which provides free vaccines to certain children. Contact your local VFC coordinator to find doctors who work with the program. You can also visit public health clinics, federally qualified health centers, or rural health clinics that serve your community.

Don’t risk your health by falling behind on vaccinations. We’re here to help you catch up and stay caught up. The CDC offers more information about catching up on missed vaccines.


This note was developed as a collaboration between the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and Pfizer, Inc.