Get to know Immunizations
The way vaccinations work is quite interesting… Vaccines contain weakened or inactive parts of a particular disease (antigens) that triggers an immune response within the body. Antibodies are then produced in response to fight off the real virus, bacteria, fungi, or parasite before the real threat enters your body. For instance, the Influenza (the Flu) vaccine is an injection containing very weakened particles of the Influenza virus. Most vaccines are designed to work without making us sick initially, hence using weakened antibodies of the organism.
Vaccines mimic the body’s natural way to build immunity through getting sick can protect you without symptoms and while speeding up the natural process.
Vaccines can affect people differently. This can be affected by overall health, allergies, or something as simple as age. Serious diseases are more dangerous in younger children because their immune systems are too weak to fight them off. This is why the CDC suggests receiving vaccines at a young age.
It doesn’t happen often but, if you catch a case of a disease more than 2 weeks after receiving a vaccine for that same disease, it is considered a breakthrough case. Even though breakthrough cases are possible, and most vaccines aren’t 100% effective, it is still important to get vaccinated. You benefit from receiving a vaccine because it reduces your severity of illness, if you do happen to get sick, and can help protect those around you. Vaccine efficacy determines the percent of effectiveness a vaccine has on the test subjects in a clinical trial. A clinical trial often tries to emulate the perfect scenario, where everybody in the trial who is receiving the vaccine is receiving it exactly how they are meant to and are being monitored. This means a vaccine could be 95% effective in a clinical trial but only 60% effective in “real-world” application. Usually this means a vaccine will not be 100% effective but still offers protection. For example, the flu vaccine is usually 40-60% effective. Even though this is not the highest efficacy, it can reduce the risk among yourself and your community of being exposed to the influenza virus to a great extent.
The best tool for your health is being knowledgeable on different diseases and their features. Take time to protect yourself and better your health by reviewing these different diseases and vaccinations to keep yourself informed and aware.
When should I receive my vaccines?
You may be asking, do I need vaccines every year? Well, it depends on the vaccine. Currently, the flu vaccine is the only vaccine recommended every year. Almost all other vaccines have different schedules according to age, health conditions, where you live, and more. Vaccines for other infectious diseases are usually given at a young age in order to build up a defense in your immune system early on. AFM supports the CDC’s immunization schedule which recommends certain vaccines to be received throughout the first couple years of a child’s life. This is strongly recommended in order for their immune system to get stronger at a young age which helps protect our community moving on.
Most viruses, fungi, bacteria, or parasites do not change over time. This makes it easy to create a vaccine that can be given in one dose or a series of doses to treat that disease. The reason for an annual flu vaccine is because, unlike normal viruses, the flu virus constantly undergoes genetic changes each season, which requires the vaccine to be adjusted in order to treat the predicted strains of influenza for that year. Other viruses usually don’t change annually, which makes them available to be a one-time shot or series of shots for full vaccination.
The CDC’s immunization schedule recommends most vaccines to be given before the age of 2, including Hepatitis B, DTaP, PCV13, Hepatitis A, and more. After 15 months of age, vaccinations tend to come around every other year. This schedule usually follows school recommendations. Schedule a visit with your provider to discuss or receive recommended immunizations.
Benefits of AFM
Click for a more in-depth look at the 3 ways that you could benefit from AFM’s personalized care and why it’s better than receiving a vaccine shot at a local pharmacy.
Why Should I Get Vaccinated?
Vaccines keep yourself, loved ones, and those around you safe from the sickness and discomfort viruses and bacteria bring while circulating through your community. Proper hygiene is crucial to minimize the effect infectious diseases can have. Whether that’s disinfecting commonly used surfaces or washing your hands often, you can do your part in keeping healthy. It is important to receive your vaccines on time according to the CDC’s immunization schedule but vaccines administered after the recommended date can still be highly effective.
Thanks to vaccinations, what used to be serious diseases such as smallpox, polio, and mumps have been virtually eradicated. But being educated on these viruses and bacteria is important in order to learn how common and dangerous these infectious diseases can be.
In the U.S., vaccines have greatly reduced or eliminated many infectious diseases that once routinely killed or harmed infants, children, and adults.
How to Help Prevent Contracting an Infectious Disease:
- Wash your hands
- Germs spread through a variety of touch. Washing your hands makes it less likely you will contract a disease.
- Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry (30 sec)
- Avoid touching your face (nose, eyes, mouth)
- When you have contracted germs in any way the easiest way for them to infect your body is through your mouth, nose, or eyes making us ill.
- Always wash your hands before eating, or touching anything that may come in contact with your face.
- Handle food properly and safely
- Food can carry germs. Wash commonly used utensils and surfaces used when preparing food to prevent the contamination of the food
- Always wash fruits and vegetables
- Clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces
- Surfaces such as kitchens, bathrooms, counters, tables, etc. should all be disinfected regularly.
- You can use soap and water, EPA certified disinfectant (look for EPA on the label of solution), bleach (diluted), or rubbing alcohol.
- Get Vaccinated
- Vaccination is one of the easiest ways to prevent infectious diseases long term
- Vaccines for children and adults are designed to provide protection against many communicable diseases.
AFM is Here For You
Your AFM primary care provider has you covered when it comes to immunizations. You may need vaccinations depending on different factors, such as, where you are traveling, how old you are, or any medical conditions that may prevent you from receiving a vaccine.
It is important when traveling to check in with your PCP beforehand because depending on where you travel there could be certain vaccine requirements or restrictions. This can be determined by a disease being more or less severe in a certain country or could possibly be more vulnerable to that disease. Depending on their policies, you may need certain vaccinations before traveling.
Vaccines for children and adults differ and your provider can answer questions you may have regarding the CDC’s immunization schedule. AFM supports immunizing yourself and your family according to guidelines from the (CDC). The CDC establishes immunization schedules through a thorough and heavily researched process, but only as a strong recommendation. AFM follows and provides immunizations as recommended by the American Academy of Family Practice (AAFP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to provide exemplary care to all ages and to help prevent and reduce the severity of serious infectious diseases.
Because of vaccine effectiveness, most people in the US haven’t witnessed the consequences of these diseases (Mumps, Smallpox, Chickenpox, malaria, etc.). Our primary care providers are doing more to make your immunization needs through cold and flu season and throughout your child’s life as easy, affordable, and pleasant as possible. If you are interested, finding a personalized family care provider is an easy way to keep yourself up-to-date about vaccinations and other health care needs.
For more information, the CDC provides us with an immunization schedule that outlines at what age you should receive certain vaccines.
Did You Know?
- Getting immunized costs less than getting treated for the diseases that the shot protects you from
- If exposure to disease occurs in a community, there is little to no risk of an epidemic if enough people have been immunized.
- Improved sanitation, hygiene, and other living conditions have created a generally healthier environment and reduced the risks for disease exposure
- Extreme diseases that broke out in the past such as Smallpox has been eradicated and Polio has been virtually eradicated in today’s society due to vaccines
For more information visit https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/
Make sure you talk with your provider first before getting vaccinated. Your provider will help determine if and when it’s safe for you to get a vaccine and work with you to create a plan. Find more information on different kinds of health conditions or other factors that could suggest which vaccines are right or not right for you on the CDCs website.