August is National Immunization Awareness Month! As children go back to school, it is important to get immunized to protect yourself and your family.
What is the difference between a vaccine and immunization?
- Vaccine – a product administered to create immunity from a disease.
Contrary to popular belief, vaccines are not available by needle injection alone. Other methods can include receiving the vaccine orally or through nasal passages.
- Immunization – the process of becoming protected or immune from a disease.
Immunization is often the result of vaccines but can also be formed by contracting a disease and then producing antibodies to fight off the disease.
Why are they important?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year thousands of adults in the U.S. suffer serious illness, are hospitalized and even die from diseases for which vaccines are available. The reasons people choose not to vaccinate can vary from religious beliefs to fear of side effects. At times, vaccines may have side effects but in most cases they are very mild.
Vaccines help protect you, your family and others in the community from getting certain diseases. By building defenses within your body, you are less likely to contribute to the spread of disease. By protecting yourself, you’re protecting others.
What vaccines are available and when are they needed?
There are different vaccines recommended based on your age group. The CDC provides a chart of the immunizations recommended at each stage of life.
- Infants and Toddlers – birth to 6 years old
Children need several vaccines from the time they are born through their 6th birthday. It is important to heed to this recommended schedule as children are most vulnerable to diseases at this stage.
- Children – 7-18 years old
At this age, children will start getting the flu vaccine along with a few others they previously have not received. It is important to stay up-to-date on this schedule.
- Adults – 18 years +
Vaccines are not just for the young. Adults need them too. Find out how to protect yourself here.
Family Health Centers of San Diego (FHCSD) is dedicated to helping our patients stay healthy at every age. We proudly offer a range of important vaccinations to aid in protecting our patients within the communities we serve. Call (619) 515-2300 to schedule an appointment at a primary care clinic near you.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; vaccines.gov.