By Dr. Amanda Green, Chief Medical Officer
If a researcher were to sit down at the end of 2021 and tabulate and record the number of times individual vital words were mentioned over the year, “vaccine” would surely be near the top. The advent of COVID-19 vaccines, and their critical role in slowing the spread of the virus, is helping us get closer to the pandemic’s end. It has not only been at the forefront of global discourse, but it has also served as a reminder of how effective vaccination, or immunization, as it is also known, can be in protecting us from several illnesses, both mild and severe.
Of all the things we have learned throughout this historical time, the one fact that perhaps can have the farthest-reaching impact on us individually and collectively is that our health means everything. It has always been true but maybe never more accurate than now. It reminds us of how fragile our health can be and how essential it is to do all we can to protect it from enjoying the things we love and take advantage of all that life offers.
One of the safest and most effective ways we can protect our health and the health of others is by getting vaccinated against preventable diseases. We recommend immunizations 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 severe diseases. And it helps make your community healthier too by reducing the spread of infectious illness.
August is National Immunization Awareness Month and a time when many of us are gearing up for another school year – perhaps in person for the first time since spring of 2020. So, it’s a perfect time to check your child’s immunization record, make sure they’re up to date on recommended vaccines, and make an appointment with their pediatrician to make up for any that you missed. And while you’re checking on theirs, don’t forget to double-check yours, too. Adults can also benefit from vaccines, 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, and 6 months (3 doses)
Six months and up
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)
12-15 months and 4-6 years (2 doses)
MMR (Measles, mumps, and rubella)
12-23 months (2 doses)
2, 4, 6, 15-18 months and 4-6 years (5 doses)
DTaP (Tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough)
HPV (Human papillomavirus) (2 doses)
Tdap (DTaP booster)
MenACWY (Meningococcal disease)
15 years and up (a good rule of thumb is to get a booster on the “5”s – 15,25,35, etc.)
Tdap or TD (Booster every ten years)
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 essential to maintain a good dialogue with your primary care provider and pediatrician on which immunizations you and your family should receive and when. And 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.
If you have not yet received your COVID-19 vaccine, please consider doing so. Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines (Two dose regimen) and the J&J COVID-19 vaccine (One dose) are authorized for ages 18 and up, and the Pfizer vaccine (Two dose regimen) is approved for ages 12 and up. If you are female and between the ages of 18-50, a rare but increased risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) accompanies the J&J vaccine. Talk with your provider about a suitable COVID-19 vaccine for you.
Our health means everything, and immunizations can have tremendous benefits in 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 903.737.3232 or visit the Find a Provider tab at ParisRegionalMedical.com to make an appointment and get connected with the care you need.