Your Health Means Everything: Protect It with Immunizations
July 28, 2021
by John Winkelman, MD
If a researcher were to sit down at the end of 2021 and tabulate and record the number of times individual key words were mentioned over the course of the year, “vaccine” would surely be near the top. The advent of COVID-19 vaccines and the key role they have played in slowing the spread of the virus and helping us get closer to the pandemic’s end has not only been at the forefront of global discourse but has also served as a reminder of how effective vaccination – or immunization, as it is also known – is in protecting us from a number of illnesses, both mild and severe.
Of all the things we have learned throughout this historic time, the one realization that perhaps has the farthest-reaching impact for each of us is that our health means everything. It has always been true, but perhaps never truer than right now. We have been reminded of how fragile our health can be and how essential it is to do all that we can to protect it so that we can enjoy the things we love and take advantage of all that life has to offer.
One of the safest and most effective ways we can protect not only our health but the health of others is by getting vaccinated against preventable diseases. Immunizations are recommended for all ages, from birth through senior adulthood. Following recommended vaccination schedules can help ensure that you and your family stay healthy and protected from preventable serious diseases. It helps make your community healthier, too, by reducing the spread of infectious illness.
August is National Immunization Awareness Month; it is also a time when many of us are gearing up for another school year – perhaps in person for the first time since spring of 2020. This is the perfect time to check your child’s immunization record to make sure they’re up-to-date on recommended vaccines, and to make an appointment with their pediatrician to make up for any that are missed. While you’re checking on theirs, don’t forget to double-check yours, too. Adults can benefit from vaccines as well, including some that can help prevent illnesses like shingles, hepatitis A and B, and certain cancers that can result from disease infection. Below is a quick, at-a-glance breakdown of recommended vaccinations for different ages.
Birth, 1-2 months, and 6-18 months (3 doses)
2, 4, 6, 15-18 months and 4-6 years (5 doses)
DTaP (Tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough)
2, 4 and 6 months (3 doses)
2, 4, 6-18 months and 4-6 years (4 doses)
2, 4, 6 and 12-15 months (4 doses)
Hib (Haemophilus influenza type B)
6 months and up
12-15 months and 4-6 years (2 doses)
MMR (Measles, mumps and rubella)
12-23 months (2 doses)
HPV (Human papillomavirus) (2 or 3 doses) -- may be started at 9 years old
Tdap (DTaP booster)
MenACWY (Meningococcal disease)
MenB (3 doses)
50 years and up
Zoster recombinant (Shingles)
65 years and up
Recommended vaccinations for children and adults alike may alter depending on factors like health conditions, lifestyle, and other characteristics, so it’s important to maintain a good dialogue with your primary care clinician and/or pediatrician on which immunizations you and your family should receive and when. If you’re an adult who may have missed some of the recommendations above, you may be able to get catch-up immunizations. Check with your provider about what’s right for you.
Health means everything, and immunizations can have a tremendous impact when it comes to protecting your health and that of your family and community. Make sure you’re up-to-date on yours today. For more information on immunizations recommendations by age, visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines.
If you would like to speak with a provider about your or your child’s immunizations, call 509.794.2117 or visit the Find a Provider tab at TriosHealth.org to make an appointment and get connected with the care you need.