Vaccine News & Notes — May 2021

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Parents PACK

2021 Hilleman essay contest

Our popular Hilleman essay contest is back! Students in grades 6 to 12 are invited to learn about Dr. Hilleman and write a short essay that answers the question, “How do Dr. Hilleman’s accomplishments demonstrate the importance of creativity in science?” Three winners will each receive a $1,000 cash prize, a certificate and VEC prize bag, and recognition at a virtual awards event this fall.

Please encourage the older children in your life to enter by June 4, 2021. Contest rules and details are available at

Scam Alert! COVID vaccines are FREE

Yet another COVID-19 vaccine scam to watch out for! This time, scammers are offering to sell you a COVID-19 vaccine in order to steal your personal and financial information. COVID-19 vaccines are available FREE of charge to anyone who wants them. In the consumer alert, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) suggests these measures to protect yourself: 

  • Ignore online ads, social media posts, or phone calls from people offering to sell you the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Don’t pay to sign up for the vaccine.
  • Don’t pay out of pocket for a vaccine.
  • Never share your personal, financial, or health information with people you don’t know.
  • Contact a trusted source for information.
  • Don’t post your vaccination card to your social media account.

Visit FTC’s website for more details.

Updated info about HPV vaccine

Did you know that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine can now be given to adults up to 45 years of age? While the vaccine is routinely recommended for 11- to 12-year-olds, it can be given to those between 9 and 45 years of age. If you or a family member might be interested in getting the HPV vaccine to protect against this common sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can sometimes cause cancers of the head, neck and reproductive tract, talk with your healthcare provider.

The Vaccine Education Center (VEC) recently updated our Q&A about HPV to reflect the expanded age range for this vaccine:

The VEC also oversees, which answers dozens of questions about HPV disease and vaccine. The page also includes a form to submit your own questions if they are not already addressed on the page.

What was your COVID-19 vaccine experience? See the experiences of others!

How was your COVID-19 vaccine experience? Not vaccinated yet? Know others who are still deciding?

Check out the VEC’s new video series, My COVID-19 Vaccine Experience, to  hear why some people decided to get the COVID-19 vaccine and find out about their experiences once they did. The series features stories in both English and Spanish.

Check out the videos today or share with your network.

Wondering about the recent J&J pause? has been updated with answers to common questions about the J&J COVID-19 vaccine, including:

  • What do you know about the halt on the J&J vaccine?
  • What should I do if I had the J&J vaccine?
  • Should I stop using my birth control if I got the J&J vaccine?
  • What are CVST and thrombocytopenia? 

The webpage contains answers to dozens of questions about COVID-19 as well as several videos. Check back often as the information is updated regularly.

Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Vaccine Education Center staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.

You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family's personal health. You should not use it to replace any relationship with a physician or other qualified healthcare professional. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult your physician or, in serious cases, seek immediate assistance from emergency personnel.