Why are immunizations important?
You can protect yourself from catching a contagious disease, like measles or flu, by getting the recommended immunizations. Vaccinations contain substances that make your body produce antibodies against a disease or infection. The antibodies give you immunity by protecting you from catching the illness.
Immunization is important because many common diseases can cause serious complications. Measles are a good example. They’re so contagious that 90% of the people who get close to a person infected with measles will catch the disease if they’re not immune. One out of 20 children who catch measles develop pneumonia. Other children develop brain swelling called encephalitis, and 1-2 out of every 1,000 children die from measles.
What immunizations should children receive?
Immunization schedules are developed by a group of vaccine experts, scientists, doctors, and public health professionals on the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The recommended immunizations for children begin at birth and follow a detailed schedule through the age of 18 years.
Childhood vaccinations often require 3-4 doses, which are given several months apart. However, multiple vaccinations for different diseases can be combined in a single shot. Dr. Altshuler MD keeps a record of the shots your child has received and schedules a well child appointment for the next vaccination.
Childhood immunizations protect children from contagious diseases such as:
- Hepatitis A and B
- Pneumococcal disease
- Whooping cough
Do adults need immunizations?
The need for immunization doesn’t stop once you’re an adult. Adults need ongoing vaccinations for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Adults are at risk for different diseases
- Immunity from childhood vaccinations can wear off
- Vaccine formulas can change over the years
- New vaccines are developed that weren’t available during childhood
- Women who plan to become pregnant should be protected before conceiving
The immunizations recommended for adults depend on their age, overall health, and whether they plan to travel outside the United States. Adults may need immunizations for protection against:
- Seasonal influenza
- Pneumococcal pneumonia
- Hepatitis B
- Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Hepatitis A
- Meningococcal disease
- Measles, mumps, rubella