National Immunization Awareness Month is an annual opportunity to provide additional public education about vaccines while highlighting the importance of them for all ages.
The CDC recommends vaccines for all ages, from birth to 65 and older. The most common harmful diseases that vaccines prevent are:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis A
- Haemophilus influenza type B
- Whooping cough
- Pneumococcal disease
Scientists develop vaccines when a disease causes a high death rate or a high risk of permanent disability.
How do vaccines work?
A vaccine introduces a weakened form of a disease in the body to activate an immune response. This either produces antibodies or other effects that strengthens immunity, which can prevent the disease if a person is exposed to it later on.
Some people can't get vaccines because their body’s immune system may be unable to make antibodies.
Family Care Network Provider, Dr. Joy Welty, said these people rely on "herd immunity," which is created by people who received vaccines. They protect the unvaccinated by keeping infection at bay and keeping it from spreading throughout the community.
“Now that more people are choosing not to get vaccinated, we as a community are slowly losing our herd immunity,” Dr. Welty said. “This can leave everyone more vulnerable, especially the elderly and babies who can't get some vaccines until after their first year.”
The CDC has confirmed more than 1,100 cases of measles in 30 states so far this year. According to the CDC, an estimated 1-3 kids out of 1,000 who get the measles will die, 1 in 1,000 will get a brain infection and 1 out of 4 cases will require hospitalization. Severe complications can include swelling of the brain and pneumonia.
“We as a society have forgotten what a lot of these childhood illnesses look like and why we developed vaccines for them in the first place,” Dr. Welty said. “There’s still a lot of [vaccine] misinformation out there on the internet based on anecdotal reports and not fact-based evidence.”
Every licensed vaccine goes through extensive research and tests for the health and safety of you and your family. Side effects are rare, however it is still important to review them with your doctor.
Are you vaccinated?
At every age, vaccines save lives and protect children and adults. Contact your health care provider to make sure your immunizations are up to date. If you need a primary care doctor, please visit www.familycarenetwork.com/new-patients.
If you’d like to learn more about vaccines, additional trusted resources can be found at:
www.healthychilren.org/ (American Academy of Pediatrics)
www.cdc.gov/vaccines (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
www.ecbt.org/ (Every Child by Two)
www.historyofvaccines.org/ (History of Vaccines)
www.immunize.org/ (Immunization Action Coalition)
www.nfid.org/default.aspx (National Foundation for Infectious Diseases)
www.vaccines.gov/ (U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services)
www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center (Vaccine Education Center)
https://www.who.int/topics/vaccines/en/ (World Health Organization)