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The Importance of Vaccinations

As the school year welcomes us and we begin the yearly rush of busy schedules, homework, after school activities, and a slew of other commitments, it is easy to forget one of the most important appointments on your calendar. Remembering you and your loved ones vaccines is critical to yours and their well-being. Whether it is your seasonal flu shot or your children's school required vaccines, vaccinations are essential.

Once a serious health threat, many infectious diseases in the U.S. have been reduced or eliminated because of vaccines. However, the germs that cause these diseases still exist. Therefore, people who are not protected by vaccines can still become infected and ill. Because more and more people today refuse to get vaccinated against these diseases, the numbers of reported cases are increasing. The fear of vaccine safety is common amongst parents and loved ones. The good news is that the U.S. Immunization program is among the safest in the world (healthychildren.org). Vaccines are tested for years before they are approved for use in the general population. In 2007, vaccinations were estimated to have saved 33,000 lives by preventing 14 million infections (healthychildren.org).

Though usually considered an adolescent concern, people in all stages of life should be aware of what vaccines they should be receiving to stay up-to-date and healthy. Vaccines against seasonal diseases such as the flu are important to remember, especially for high risk populations such as elderly and those with chronic diseases. Also, boosters are important to keep track of for tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap), hepatitis A and B, and others. View an Adult Immunization Schedule suggested by the CDC.

For more information on vaccines visit https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/

Information provided by Megan Roper, student intern with Community Wellness at Augusta Health. To contact Dana Breeding, RN, relating to the information in this article, please call (540) 332-4988 or (540) 932-4988.