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Apr 02, 2024 | Nancy Chen

Free And Low-Cost Vaccines in NYC for Kids and People With No Insurance

More than 65,000 immigrants have arrived in New York City in the past year and are under New York City’s care. Many of these new arrivals are families with children who are required to be vaccinated as a process to enroll in public schools. In our WeChat and WhatsApp newsletters, our immigrant readers have asked us where to get vaccines for their children who are at school. 

This article provides information on what vaccines are needed to enroll your child in school, and where to get them, along with the process of getting a free or low-cost vaccine for adults. 

Are vaccines required for school?

All children in New York City, aged two months to 18 years old, have to get certain vaccines. 

Vaccines are not only important to protect children from getting and spreading diseases, but they are also required in order to be enrolled in public schools, private schools, and child-care facilities. 

Also Read: Charter School NYC Application: Deadlines and More

The number of vaccine doses needed depends on the child’s age, grade, medical history, and the number of doses they have gotten before. You can find more information about the types and doses of vaccines your children need through the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

For example, all children enrolled in child care and attending school up to Grade 12 need the following vaccines: DTaP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis), poliovirus, MMR (measles-mumps-rubella), varicella and Hepatitis B. 

Children under the age of 5, who are enrolled in child care and pre-kindergarten (pre-K), must get the following vaccines: Hib (Haemophilus influenza type b), PCV (pneumococcal conjugate) and influenza (flu). For children in grades 6 to 12, the Tdap booster (by grade 6) and MenACWY (meningococcal conjugate) (by grade 7) vaccine are needed.

NYC Public School’s website has a detailed list of FAQs regarding children’s vaccines.

Your children can start school by getting the first or first few doses of the required vaccines. They should get the remaining doses according to a medical schedule. New York doesn’t have religious exemptions for vaccines. 

What about vaccine exemption?

Children unable to get the vaccines require are not able to go to school unless they get a Medical Request for Immunization Exemption, which can only get filled out by a New York State-licensed medical doctor or osteopathic doctor.

Where kids can get free or low-cost vaccines in NYC

The Fort Greene Health Center in Brooklyn provides free or low-cost immunization for people in NYC, regardless of their immigration status. It serves anyone aged four or above.

Address: 295 Flatbush Ave. Ext., 5th Fl., Brooklyn, NY 11201

Open hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

The clinic offers the following immunizations for children: Flu vaccine, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis combination vaccines (DTaP, and Tdap), tetanus and diphtheria vaccine (Td), haemophilus influenza type b vaccine (Hib, for children age 4), Hepatitis A vaccine, Hepatitis B vaccine, human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV), inactivated polio vaccine (for children through age 17), measles, mumps and rubella combination vaccine (MMR), meningococcal vaccine, pneumococcal vaccine and varicella vaccine.

Those receiving the vaccination services are required to bring their vaccine records, which can be accessed online through the New York City Department of Health. 

Children between the ages of 4 and 16 must be accompanied by a parent or a guardian. If children are 16 or 17 years old, a guardian needs to join them at the clinic or sign a consent form.

Also Read: Free and Affordable Healthcare for Asylum Seekers and Undocumented Migrants

Where adults can get free or low-cost vaccines

Adults can also go to the  Fort Greene Health Center for vaccines. It offers the following immunizations for adults: Flu vaccine (standard and high-dose flu vaccines), diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis combination vaccine (Tdap), tetanus and diphtheria vaccine (Td), Hepatitis A vaccine (for at-risk adults), Hepatitis B vaccine (for at-risk adults), human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV, for adults through age 26), measles, mumps, and rubella combination vaccine (MMR), meningococcal vaccine (for at-risk adults) and pneumococcal vaccine.

The following clinics also offer those services on a first-come, first-served basis. Appointments are not required. 

Ryan Chelsea-Clinton Community Health Center

Address: 645 10th Ave., New York, NY 10036

Open hours: Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Contact: 212-749-1820

Beacon Christian Community Health Center

Address: 2079 Forest Ave., Staten Island, NY 10303

Open hours: Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Contact: 718-815-6560

Please note that travel vaccines are not available in Health Department-affiliated immunization clinics.

Also Read: How to Get Free Home Health Care Services in New York

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