Vaccines have been a hot topic lately – mostly relating to when a vaccine for coronavirus (COVID-19) will be available. But, it’s not the only vaccine you should have top-of-mind right now, especially if you are an older adult or a parent of a younger child.
Vaccines play a critical role in helping keep us healthy and well. After all, we’ve seen the effect not having a vaccine can have on our society. Make sure you stay up to date with the recommended vaccine schedule for yourself or for your child.
Vaccines keep kids healthy, safe
A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found an alarming drop in the number of vaccines administered by providers during the first months of stay-at-home orders. This is despite well child visits being considered an essential service and remaining available for families.
“Well child visits give you the opportunity to address any questions or concerns you have and your child’s provider the ability to make sure your child is developing appropriately and not at risk for any chronic health conditions. It also ensures your child receives vaccines on schedule,” says Dr. Margaret Towolawi, family medicine physician at Swedish Richmond Beach Primary Care.
The CDC recommends that vaccines begin at birth, and that parents follow the recommended vaccine schedule. Typically, babies will need vaccines at almost all well-child visits until age 4. The CDC also recommends all children ages 6 months and older receive the annual flu vaccine. (If it’s your child’s first time getting the flu vaccine, they will need it in two doses.)
If your child did miss a vaccination and wellness appointment during quarantine, don’t worry. It’s easy to get your child back on schedule.
“You won’t need to restart a vaccine series over if you’ve missed one dose,” reassures Dr. Towolawi. “Your child’s provider can give them catch-up vaccines so that they can stay healthy and safe.”
Kids aren’t the only ones who need to stay on top of recommended vaccine schedules. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that all adults need at least some type of annual vaccine.
Vaccines for adults
Kids aren’t the only ones who need to stay on top of recommended vaccine schedules. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that all adults need at least some type of annual vaccine. And if you are over the age of 65, it’s even more critical to protect yourself as you may be more susceptible to certain viruses and diseases. Some seniors may even need the Fluzone higher-dosage seasonal influenza vaccine that can offer extra protection.
Everyone – regardless of age, health risk or medical history – should get a flu vaccine, unless, of course, you are allergic to the vaccine or have another medical issue that prevents you from getting the vaccine. And adults should also talk to their provider to learn if they need any other vaccines.
The CDC recommends the following vaccines for adults:
- Tdap vaccine to protect against whooping cough, especially if you will be around a newborn and have not been vaccinated.
- Td booster to protect against tetanus and diphtheria. This vaccine is needed every 10 years.
- HPV vaccine for adults up to age 26 to protect against the human papillomaviruses (HPV), which can lead to cancer. Some individuals up to age 45 may want to talk to their doctor about their HPV risk and if the vaccine is right for them.
- Shingles vaccine for healthy adults over age 50 to prevent shingles and complications.
- Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) protects against pneumococcal disease, including meningitis and bloodstream infections. The CDC recommends this vaccine for all adults 65 years and older and adults younger than 65 with certain health conditions
- Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) helps reduce the risk of getting serious pneumococcal disease and pneumonia. This vaccine is recommended for all adults age 65 and older.
Your primary care provider can help you understand which of these vaccines you may need to protect your health and if you need any additional vaccines because of your job, health conditions or lifestyle.
Your primary care provider can help you understand which of these vaccines you may need to protect your health and if you need any additional vaccines because of your job, health conditions or lifestyle. A regular wellness visit gives both you and your provider the perfect opportunity to discuss the vaccine schedule that’s right for you and update your immunization record in MyChart so you can always stay up to date.
See a doctor today and stay safe
As you settle into your new routine, it’s time to resume regular visits with your doctor. If you or your child has missed appointments or vaccinations during COVID-19, our team is here to help. We can schedule your appointments and get you back on track so you can stay healthy and well.
And, rest assured that if you do need in-person care, we’re doing everything in our power to keep you safe when you’re here. Our team is implementing several new safety steps to help ensure your safety when you’re in one of our facilities. We’re following the CDC recommendations for screening, masking, distancing and sanitizing as well as isolating COVID-19 patients from the rest of the population. We also are offering virtual visits – a reliable way to see your doctor from the comfort of your home. Your safety is our priority. It’s our pledge to you.
Find a doctor
Whether you require an in-person visit or want to consult with a doctor virtually, you have options. Swedish Virtual Care connects you face-to-face with a nurse practitioner who can review your symptoms, provide instruction and follow-up as needed. If you need to find a doctor, you can use our provider directory.
Talk to your doctor and make sure you’re up-to-date with recommended vaccines. Find out what we’re doing to keep you safe when you visit at www.swedish.org/covid-19.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
About the AuthorMore Content by Swedish Wellness & Lifestyle Team