Stay up to date with critical vaccines

Vaccines have been a hot topic lately – mostly relating to when a vaccine for coronavirus (COVID-19) will be available. But, it’s not the only vaccine you should have top-of-mind right now, especially if you are an older adult or a parent of a younger child.

“Vaccines play a critical role in helping keep us healthy and well,” explains Dr. Aaron Beck at Providence. “After all, we’ve seen the effect not having a vaccine can have on our society. Make sure you stay up to date with the recommended vaccine schedule for yourself or for your child.”

Adds Dr. Karen Soriano, pediatrician at Covenant Health, "Vaccines protect the future. If the general population was to stop or reduce vaccinating, some diseases could come back easily and may become deadlier than before.  We are responsible to vaccinate populations now in order to reduce the impact of vaccine-preventable diseases for the next generations."

Vaccines keep kids healthy, safe

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found an alarming drop in the number of vaccines requested by pediatricians during the first months of stay-at-home orders.This is despite pediatric well visits being considered an essential service and remaining available for families.

Your child’s regular well visits give you the opportunity to address any questions or concerns you have and your child’s provider the ability to make sure your child is developing appropriately and not at risk for any chronic health conditions. It also ensures your child receives life-saving vaccines on schedule.

The CDC recommends that vaccines begin at birth, and that parents follow their recommended vaccine schedule. Typically, babies will need vaccines at almost all well check-ups until age 4. The CDC also recommends all children ages 6 months and older receive the annual flu vaccine. (If it’s your child’s first time getting the flu vaccine, they will need it in two doses.)

If your child missed a vaccination and well appointment during quarantine, don’t worry. It’s easy to get your child back on schedule.

You won’t need to restart a vaccine series over if you’ve missed one dose. Your child’s pediatrician can get them caught back up so they can stay healthy and safe.

Kids aren’t the only ones who need to stay on top of recommended vaccine schedules. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that all adults need at least some type of annual vaccine. 

The bottom line is, "Vaccines promote health," says Dr. Soriano. "Immunizations decrease the burden of infectious diseases.  They are the key to staying healthy.  Vaccines must not be delayed."

Vaccines for adults

Kids aren’t the only ones who need to stay on top of recommended vaccine schedules. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that all adults need at least some type of annual vaccine. And if you are over the age of 65, it’s even more critical to protect yourself as you may be more susceptible to certain viruses and diseases.

“Everyone – regardless of age, health risk or medical history – should get a flu vaccine, unless, of course, you are allergic to the vaccine or have another medical issue that prevents you from getting the vaccine,” says Dr. Beck. “And adults should also talk to their provider to learn if they need any other vaccines.”

Vaccines protect the community. There is always strength in numbers.  Herd immunity, also called community immunity, is an important way for communities to remain protected.  

According to Dr. Soriano, "Vaccines protect the community. There is always strength in numbers.  Herd immunity, also called community immunity, is an important way for communities to remain protected.  If less than 90% of the individuals in a specific community have been vaccinated, vulnerable individuals have a higher risk of getting infected."  

The  CDC recommends the following vaccines for adults:

  • Tdap vaccine to protect against whooping cough, especially if you will be around a newborn and have not been vaccinated.
  • Td booster to protect against tetanus and diphtheria. This vaccine is needed every 10 years.
  • HPV vaccine for adults up to age 26 to protect against the human papillomaviruses (HPV), which can lead to cancer. Some individuals up to age 45 may want to talk to their doctor about their HPV risk and if the vaccine is right for them. 
  • Shingles vaccine for healthy adults over age 50 to prevent shingles and complications.
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) protects against pneumococcal disease, including meningitis and bloodstream infections. The CDC recommends this vaccine for all adults 65 years and older and adults younger than 65 with certain health conditions
  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) helps reduce the risk of getting serious pneumococcal disease and pneumonia. This vaccine is recommended for all adults age 65 and older.

Your primary care provider can help you understand which of these vaccines you may need to protect your health and if you need any additional vaccines because of your job, health conditions or lifestyle.

“Your primary care provider can help you understand which of these vaccines you may need to protect your health and if you need any additional vaccines because of your job, health conditions or lifestyle. A regular well visit gives both you and your provider the perfect opportunity to discuss the vaccine schedule that’s right for you,” says Dr. Beck.

See a doctor today and stay safe

As you settle into your new routine, it’s time to resume regular visits with your doctor. If you or your child has missed appointments or vaccinations during COVID-19, our team is here to help. We can schedule your appointments and get you back on track so you can stay healthy and well.

Your safety is our priority

At Providence, we’re doing everything we can to keep you safe, including implementing seven safety steps to reduce your risk of getting COVID-19 when you’re in one of our facilities.  That includes screening all visitors for COVID-19 symptoms, requiring employees, patients and visitors to wear masks, regularly disinfecting facilities and much more.

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Schedule a visit

Talk to your doctor and make sure you’re up-to-date with recommended vaccines. Make an appointment at one of our primary care locations.

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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

About the Author

The Providence Body & Mind Team is dedicated to providing medically-sound, data-backed insights and advice on how to reach and maintain your optimal health through a mixture of exercise, mindfulness, preventative care and healthy living in general.

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