Why are immunizations important?

Immunizations protect you from harmful diseases that can be quite serious, leading to hospitalization, disability, and even death. Without protection, these diseases can spread through the population, especially to infants who are too young to get vaccinations or people with compromised immune systems.

You may think of immunizations as something you get in childhood, but protection wears off over time. Older children, teens, and adults need boosters and new vaccines. You may also need additional vaccines due to your job or travel.

What immunizations are most important?

Immunizations prevent major diseases, including mumps, measles, and whooping cough. Without immunizations, serious outbreaks can occur leading to widespread illness and unnecessary consequences.

At Halper Family Medicine, the doctors help you understand which immunizations your child needs at each stage of life. They can keep you up-to-date, too, should you need a booster or new vaccine.

Vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include:

  • Chickenpox (varicella)
  • Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP)
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)
  • Meningococcal vaccine
  • Polio vaccine

Other vaccines may be recommended depending on your child’s age and health status.

Why is it important to get a flu shot?

The flu virus changes every year, so last season’s vaccine provides no real protection this year. The flu causes serious misery and can require hospitalization for people in vulnerable populations. When you get the flu shot, you greatly reduce your risk of contracting the disease, and if you should get a strain of the virus, your symptoms are less severe, and you recover more quickly. Children and adults can get the flu shot annually.

What is the shingles vaccine?

Shingles is a virus that is the same as the one that causes chickenpox. Adults older than 50 are most likely to contract shingles. With the virus, you develop welts and blisters that wrap around the sides of your torso.

While shingles isn’t life-threatening, it’s extremely uncomfortable. Zostavax® and Shingrix® are the options for shingles vaccines that protect you for at least five years. If you’re an adult who’s never had chickenpox, the doctors at Halper Family Medicine may recommend you get the varicella vaccine to protect you from chickenpox and shingles.

Do I need the pneumococcal vaccine?

The pneumococcal vaccine protects you from pneumonia, a severe infection of the lungs that puts thousands of people in the hospital each year.

The immunizations PCV13 and PPSV23 protect you against pneumonia, especially if you’re in an older population or have compromised immunity and are vulnerable to serious complications if you develop pneumonia.

At Halper Family Medicine, the team suggests adults 65 and older get PCV13 first and a dose of PPSV23 no later than one year afterward, as suggested by the CDC.

To learn what immunizations you or your family may need to protect your health, call Halper Family Medicine or book an appointment online.

What is the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Three COVID-19 vaccines have been granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since mid-December 2020. Prior to authorization by the FDA, these vaccines underwent the same rigorous safety and effectiveness standards as all other vaccines. Quickly, vaccine distribution began, starting with health care professionals on the frontlines of patient care.

Once available to the broader public, it’s critical that a high percentage of the population receive the vaccine in order to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19. Herd immunity occurs when most of a population is immune to an infectious disease (either from previous infection and/or vaccination) and provides indirect protection to those who are not immune to the disease.