CVP - Information for Parents

Mother reading to two children
How vaccines work

Vaccines are an important and safe way to keep you healthy. Most vaccine-preventable diseases are caused by germs that are called viruses or bacteria. Vaccines to help prevent these diseases generally contain weakened or killed viruses or bacteria specific to the disease. Vaccines help your body recognize and fight these germs and protect you each time you come in contact with someone who is sick with any of these diseases. There are a series of steps that your body goes through to develop immunity through vaccination:

  • First - a vaccine with weakened or killed viruses or bacteria is given by a shot (influenza vaccine may be given by a nasal spray and rotavirus vaccine is given by mouth). 
  • Next - over the next few weeks your body makes antibodies and memory cells against the weakened or dead germs in the vaccine.
  • Then - the antibodies can fight the real disease if you are exposed to the disease germs and they invade your body. The antibodies will help destroy the germs so you won't get sick.
  • Finally - antibodies and memory cells stay on guard in your body for years after you're vaccinated to protect you from the disease. This protection is called immunity.
Where to go to get your child vaccinated
There are hundreds of doctors and health care providers in Connecticut that participate in the Connecticut Vaccine Program (CVP) and can give your child the vaccines he or she needs. If your regular health care provider does not participate in the CVP or your child does not have a regular health care provider, call (860) 509-7929 to find a CVP provider near you. 


Vaccines available for your child at no cost through the CVP
Most of the vaccinations your child needs are available at no charge through the CVP. Your doctor or health care provider may charge you for giving your child the vaccine, but the vaccine is free.  
When to get your child vaccinated
Making sure your child gets vaccinated at the right age is very important for their health. It's even more important that your child gets the immunizations he or she needs by the age of 2 years old. This is because serious illness is most likely to happen in the first two years of a child’s life.
Here are the vaccinations your child needs and when:
Make a vaccination schedule for your child
You can make a vaccine schedule special for your child. This will help make sure that your child gets vaccinated when they need to.
Day care and school immunization requirements
In order to attend day care or school in Connecticut, your child must have the right vaccinations:

Talking About Vaccines with Dr. Paul Offit 

Paul A. Offit, MD is the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as well as the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology and a Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a recipient of many awards has published more than 150 papers in medical and scientific journals in the areas of rotavirus-specific immune responses and vaccine safety. Each video in the series, currently on YouTube, is two to four minutes long and features Dr. Offit answering common vaccine-related questions such as:

  • Why do newborns get the hepatitis B vaccine?

  • Why are vaccines required before my child goes to school?

  • Why is the HPV vaccine given to children at 11-12 years of age?

  • Are vaccines safe during pregnancy?

If you have questions or feedback regarding vaccinating your child or about the CVP, contact the Connecticut Immunization Program at (860) 509-7929 or via email at

For more information on childhood vaccinations, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

For more information or to contact the Immunization Program, please call:
860-509-7929, during normal business hours, Monday-Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm


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