SIMEDHealth

Why Everyone Should Get Their Immunizations

It is August, which means school is right around the corner, and flu season will be upon us before we know it. Now is the time to make sure you and your children are up to date on your vaccinations.  We spoke to primary care physician Dr. Kamal Singh about immunizations and how they spread.

Vaccines are like a training course for the immune system. They prepare the body to fight disease without exposing it to symptoms. When foreign bacteria or viruses enter the body, immune cells respond by producing antibodies. "These antibodies fight the invader known as an antigen and protect against further infection," says Dr. Singh.

Unfortunately, the first time the body faces an invader, it can take several days to ramp up this antibody response. Dr. Singh says, "For severe antigens like the measles virus or whooping cough bacteria, a few days is too long." The infection can spread and kill the person before the immune system can fight back.

Vaccines are safe and given to millions of healthy people - including children - to prevent serious diseases. Every licensed and recommended vaccine goes through years of safety testing, including:

  • Testing before it's licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and approved for use by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Monitoring the safety after approval for infants, children, and adults. Once it is approved, it continues testing. The company that makes the vaccine tests batches it to make sure the vaccine is:
    • Potent
    • Pure
    • Sterile

The FDA reviews the results of these tests and inspects the immunization producing factories. These inspections ensure the vaccine meets standards for both quality and safety.

Dr. Singh says, "The U.S. has one of the most advanced systems in the world for tracking vaccine safety." Each of the infection systems below supplies a different type of data for researchers to analyze. Together, they help provide a full picture of vaccine safety.

By understanding how people can catch an infectious disease, you can then take effective action in preventing their spread.

Infectious diseases have different ways of spreading from person to person. Through the air, through direct contact, and contaminated objects or surfaces are the three primary ways.

Childhood immunizations can seem overwhelming when you are a new parent. Dr. Singh says, "Vaccine schedules recommended by the agencies and organization, such as the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians cover about 14 different diseases."

Vaccinations not only protect your child from deadly diseases, but they also keep other children safe by eliminating or significantly decreasing dangerous illnesses.

Dr. Singh says, "Contraindications or conditions in a recipient that increases the risk for a severe adverse reaction and precautions to immunizations are good reasons not to receive a vaccine." Most contraindications and precautions are temporary; vaccinations often can be conducted later when the condition no longer exists.

Every vaccine has a list of contraindications based on the profile of the vaccine. For example, severely sick persons generally should not receive live vaccines. Also, the presence of moderate or severe acute illness and a personal or family history of seizures are precautions to the administration of vaccines.

Dr. Singh sees patients in Gainesville, and you can click here to schedule an appointment with him!

Vaccines You and Your Family Need

Woman getting vaccinated by another woman with the words "Are you up to date on your vaccination" "Read about what vaccines you should have taken."

Each August, the National Public Health Information Coalition sponsors the National Immunization Awareness Month as a time for people of all ages to make sure they are up to date on all their immunizations and vaccines. 

Immunizations are a very important part of public health safety in infants/children, adolescents, pregnant mothers, and all adults.
Dr. Scott Wilson, a SIMED urgent care physician, goes over why people should get vaccines and what they should be getting.

INFANTS AND YOUNG CHILDREN (0 – 6 Years Old)

Starting early with infants and young children, getting vaccines is one of the ways to protect a child’s health and well-being. 
Children in daycare, pre-school, kindergarten and elementary school are prone to outbreaks of infectious diseases. Immunizations are a way to help protect each child against various diseases.
Vaccines for infants and young children prevent against diseases including:
Hepatitis, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Influenza, Chicken pox and Meningitis
View the CDC vaccination schedule recommended for infants to 6 year olds.

 

PRETEENS AND ADOLESCENTS (7 - 18 Years Old)

age groups for different vaccinations for national immunization awareness months featuring people in different age groups

As children enter their pre-teen and adolescent years, vaccines will boost their immunity to diseases of both childhood and adulthood. Many of the immunizations given during this time frame are booster vaccines to help “beef up” the pre-teen and adolescents’ immunity to infectious disease. 
Vaccines for preteens and adolescents prevent against diseases including:
Polio, Whooping Cough, Measles, Hepatitis, Influenza, Diphtheria
View the CDC vaccination schedule recommended for 7 year olds to 18 year olds.

 

PREGNANCY

In pregnant women, there are certain types of immunizations that are important to help prevent infections for both the mother and developing baby. 
During pregnancy, the mother will pass on some immunity to the developing baby to help protect the infant before it can develop its own immunity. Even after pregnancy, mothers should be careful to stay current with their vaccinations.
Vaccinations can protect both mothers and children from serious diseases that can cause birth defects and even miscarriages.
View the CDC vaccination schedule for pregnant women.

ADULTHOOD (19 Years Old and Older)

In adulthood, immunizations are important for the continued prevention of infectious disease but there are also immunizations that are recommended for adults with certain underlying diseases. These include Lung Disease (Asthma, COPD), Diabetes, Heart Disease, Liver Disease, HIV/AIDS and Kidney Disease, as individuals with these conditions are at higher risk for developing certain infectious diseases and tend to have more serious complications. 
As a general rule, make sure you’re getting a flu vaccine every year, a Td booster shot every 10 years and a Tdap vaccine to protect against whooping cough if you haven’t already.
View the CDC vaccination schedule for (a) adults 19-26 years old, (b) adults with certain health conditions and (c) adults over the age of 60.

In a world where the future is unknown, you can best protect yourself and your family from serious infectious diseases by simply talking with your doctor about getting your vaccines on a routine schedule recommended by the CDC. If your doctor does not have certain vaccines, your local health department is an excellent resource for your immunization needs.

Let’s make every August National Immunization Awareness Month and take the time to discuss our immunization status with our medical providers and make sure we are up to date on all of our vaccines. Remember as Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

If you need vaccines or would like a checkup, contact a  SIMED Primary Care doctor in our Gainesville, Ocala, Chiefland, Lady Lake or McIntosh today. Call (352) 224-2225 or schedule your appointment online
To schedule an urgent care appointment with Dr. Wilson in Gainesville, call (352) 373-2340 or request an appointment online.