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Vaccines are not just for Kids!!

Prescribing Positivity Series


Babies, older children, teens, and even adults need vaccines. Vaccines protect us from serious diseases that can lead to severe complications, such as going deaf from the mumps, getting seriously ill, or dying from measles or the flu.  The protection from some of the vaccines that we get as babies and young children wears off (wanes) over time. Older children, teens, and adults need ‘booster’ shots to help continue protecting us from these same diseases as we grow older; for example, getting a tetanus booster every ten years to protect us if we get infected from a cut, dirty wound, or needle prick.


World Immunization Week is April 24-30, 2024!!

Vaccines work!

  • We have seen dramatic drops in the number of vaccine-preventable diseases compared to when vaccines were not in place.

Source: https://www.immunize.org/wp-content/uploads/catg.d/p4037.pdf

  • We all need to stay up to date on our vaccines to prevent diseases from returning —diseases that we have not seen in large numbers for decades, like measles, whooping cough, and polio.
  • Vaccines are also the best way to protect our loved ones from preventable diseases. When we get vaccinated, we protect not only ourselves but also avoid spreading preventable diseases to others close to us. Especially those who may have a weakened immune system, those with other serious health conditions and those who are either too young or too old to get certain vaccines.
  • As we get older, some of these diseases can have serious complications for us, such as the flu, COVID-19, and hepatitis B; hence, the need to keep up to date on all our vaccines.

How do vaccines work?

  • Vaccines work by strengthening our immune system. Immunity is how our bodies prevent disease. Vaccination helps build up our natural defenses by teaching our immune systems how to defend against germs.
  • When we get vaccinated, our bodies think we are getting the real germ/infection, which is not true. The vaccine only imitates an infection. The vaccine trains our bodies to protect us from germs by making protective cells called ‘antibodies’. These antibodies stick around in our bodies. In the future, if we are exposed to the real germ, we are ready to fight it off; we already have a plan of attack.
  • If we have not been vaccinated against a specific disease and come into contact with the real germ, we are significantly more susceptible to serious complications from the illness.

Which vaccines should I receive as an adult?

All adults should make sure they’re up to date on these routine vaccines:

  • COVID-19
  • Influenza
  • Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough) vaccines
  • Older adults should also receive pneumococcal and shingles (zoster) vaccines.
  • Depending on one’s health condition or travel plans, additional vaccines may be needed.

Source: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/adult/adults-schedule-easy-read.pdf

When should I get vaccinated, and how often?

For Children and Teens, visit the CDC schedules at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/schedules/index.html.

For Adults:

Did you know there was a vaccine schedule for adults as well?

In fact, there are two (2). One is for all adults based on age, and the second is for adults with chronic medical conditions or factors that put them at high risk for the disease.

Here is an easy-to-read version:

Source: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/adult/adults-schedule-easy-read.pdf

Vaccine safety

It is okay to have questions about vaccines.

Know that vaccines are studied thoroughly before they are licensed for use in the public.

Scientists continually monitor vaccines for safety even after vaccines have been licensed.

Any medicine can cause side effects – this includes vaccines. Luckily, serious side effects from vaccines are rare. The most common side effects from all vaccines (shots) include redness, pain, and swelling to the area of the body where the vaccine was administered. These symptoms usually go away in a day or so and are mild. These are all signs that our immune system is reacting to what it thinks is a true germ entering our body. Our body acts as if it’s fighting a mild form of the germ, not because we are actually infected with the germ. Fever is one example of a side effect we may experience. Other side effects can include headaches and body aches/chills. All these also go away in a day or so and are mild. Some people may not experience side effects, but their immune systems are still working to provide protection.

It is okay to receive multiple vaccines (shots) in one day. Scientists have studied this for years.

Ingredients in vaccines serve a purpose – either to help our bodies build immunity (protection), to help keep the vaccine safe and long-lasting, or to make the vaccines more effective (work better). Neither vaccines nor the ingredients in vaccines cause autism. Decades of research and studies have shown that administering vaccines to children on the recommended childhood immunization schedule will not cause autism.

Vaccine Costs

Finding vaccines for your family is easy. First, check with your primary care provider's office (pediatric provider, family practice provider, internist) and local health departments. Pharmacies are another option for receiving vaccines. Each state, however, has its own rules on which vaccines pharmacists can administer and to which ages.

Most private insurance companies cover vaccines. For people without insurance coverage:

  • CDC’s Vaccines for Children (VFC)program provides vaccines at no cost to eligible children who are eligible for the program at the offices of health care providers enrolled in the program.
  • Adults without health insurance and those whose insurance does not cover all vaccine costs can get a free updated COVID-19 vaccine from healthcare providers, federally supported health centers, and retail pharmacies participating in the CDC’s Bridge Access Program. Visit gov to find an updated COVID-19 vaccine or flu vaccine and providers who have these vaccines.
  • If you do not currently have health insurance, visit HealthCare.gov to learn more about affordable health coverage options.
  • Use this handy online tool to help you answer the question: How will I pay for my family's vaccinations?

Keep your vaccine records!

Keeping track of your family's vaccine records is important. Ideally, you should receive a copy of your vaccine record every time a vaccine is administered. Records should be kept in a safe, secure space. States and some large cities also have secure immunization information systems (IIS) that keep electronic vaccine records for people in their state or city. Most of these registries only carry records for children and not adults, however.


CDC: Vaccines for your Children

CDC: Vaccine Schedules for your Child and Teen

CDC: Vaccine Information for Adults

Video: Vaccines and Immunity

WHO: World Immunization Week 2024

For information about COVID-19 and Flu vaccines, visit the article in Star of Zion Staying Well This Winter



Vaccines, Not just for kids, Health Ministry, CDC


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