Vaccinations Prevent Illness. Who Should Get Them?

Vaccinations. In recent years a good deal of misinformation has bubbled up about their safety. Unfortunately, the din of inaccurate information has drowned out the scientific evidence about their safety and effectiveness in stopping preventable, sometimes deadly diseases.

Happily, you’re taking some time to educate yourself about the value and importance of vaccinations for children and adults! Let’s look at two age groups:


Infants, Children and Teens

Getting your children immunized is one of the most important things you can do to protect your child’s health. With children regularly in close proximity in day care or school, diseases can spread quickly among children who haven’t been vaccinated.

Babies typically get vaccinations to help protect them from about 14 diseases by age 2. Booster shots are normally needed between ages 4 and 6. It’s important that children get each recommended vaccine dose when the health care provider recommends them.

Vaccination requirements vary by state for school children. States may allow parents to opt out of some vaccinations. Health care professionals discourage opting out of immunizations. Wisconsin and Illinois school immunization requirements are posted online. Colleges and universities may have their own immunizations requirements.

Children who aren’t vaccinated and become infected with diseases can bring those illnesses home and spread them to those at home who have not been vaccinated.

You may be familiar with the vaccines you had as a child. One you may not be familiar with is the HPV vaccine. It can help protect girls and boys age 11 or 12 from the human papilloma virus. This virus can cause certain cancers. Ask your health care provider about this vaccine for your children.


Adults

Vaccinations aren’t just for kids. Adults should discuss immunizations with their health care provider. The protection of childhood vaccines can wear off over time.

We recommend a seasonal flu vaccine for all adults. It’s especially important for older adults, adults with chronic health conditions and pregnant women. More than 60 percent of flu-related hospitalizations happen in people 65 years and older, so immunizations are important if you’re in this age group. 

All adults should ask their health care provider about getting the Tdap vaccine if they didn’t get it as an adolescent. It protects against pertussis (whooping cough). Pregnant women should get the Tdap vaccine every time they’re pregnant. Ask a provider about when it’s best.

Adults should also receive a Td (tetanus diphtheria) booster shot every 10 years.

Interestingly, when more of us are up to date on our immunizations, we can help protect other people who can’t get immunizations for medical reasons. Vaccinations help you and others!

Older adults should continue to be mindful of your immunizations. Immune systems weaken over time. That can boost your risks for certain diseases.

About 1 million Americans get shingles every year. About half are 60 or older. Ask your provider about getting the zoster vaccine to protect you against shingles. It’s recommended for adults 60 and older.

Older adults over 65 should also get pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccines.

 

Your provider can tell you more about the vaccines you and your family should get. It’s never too late to get your vaccines up to date! While it’s on your mind, schedule an appointment with your provider.

Meet the Author

Ashley Marie Warmoth, DO is a family medicine physician at Aurora Health Center in Lake Geneva, WI.

Read more posts from this author

The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.

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