August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). This annual observance highlights the importance of getting recommended vaccines throughout your life. You have the power to protect yourself and your family against serious diseases, like whooping cough, cancers caused by HPV, pneumonia, and more through on-time vaccination.
Vaccine-preventable diseases are still a threat
Each year thousands of adults in the United States get sick from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines — some people are hospitalized, and some even die. Even healthy people can get sick enough to miss work or school. Most of us can’t afford to get sick! If you’re sick, you may not be able to take care of your family or other responsibilities.
Even if you got all your vaccines as a child, the protection from some vaccines can wear off over time. You may also be at risk for other diseases due to your age, job, lifestyle, travel, or health conditions.
You may be at risk for serious diseases that are still common in the U.S. such as pneumonia, shingles or whooping cough (pertussis). Vaccination is the best protection.
How vaccines work
Vaccines lower your chance of getting sick. Vaccines work with your body’s natural defenses to lower the chances of getting certain diseases as well as suffering complications from these diseases. Vaccines lower your chance of spreading certain diseases.
Vaccines contain the same germs that cause disease. (For example, measles vaccine contains measles virus, and Hib vaccine contains Hib bacteria.) But they have been either killed or weakened to the point that they don’t make you sick. Some vaccines contain only a part of the disease germ.
A vaccine stimulates your immune system to produce antibodies, exactly like it would if you were exposed to the disease. After getting vaccinated, you develop immunity to that disease, without having to get the disease first.
This is what makes vaccines such powerful medicine. Unlike most medicines, which treat or cure diseases, vaccines prevent them.
Which vaccines you should get
There are many things you want to pass on to your loved ones; a vaccine preventable disease is not one of them. Infants, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems (like those undergoing cancer treatment) are especially vulnerable to vaccine preventable diseases. Vaccines are one of the safest ways to protect your health.
We often think about children and vaccines, but vaccines are also recommended for adults based on age, health conditions, job, and other factors.
All adults should get:
- Flu vaccine every year to protect against seasonal flu
- Td/Tdap to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough)
Based on your age, health conditions, vaccines you received as a child, and other factors, you may need additional vaccines such as:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
You can protect your health and the health of those around you by getting the recommended vaccines.
During National Immunization Awareness Month, Orchard Hospital encourages you to talk to your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional to ensure you and your family are up to date on recommended vaccines.
We also encourage you to visit CDC’s Interactive Vaccine Guide, which provides information on the vaccines recommended during pregnancy and throughout your child’s life.
As your children head back to school this fall, make sure vaccination is at the top of your checklist. August is also a key time to make sure you are up to date on all the vaccines you need to stay healthy.
Use CDC’s adult vaccine assessment tool to see which vaccines might be right for you.
Our mission at Orchard Hospital is to provide our community with superior healthcare. We strive to ensure that your experience at Orchard Hospital is as pleasant and comfortable as possible. Our priority is to provide you with the care you need when you need it, with skill, compassion, and respect.