Immunization & Vaccination: Why Getting a Shot Could Save Your Life
There are so many ways for you to protect your health and that of your family, with a major one being on-time vaccination. While many people have general knowledge of vaccines, they may not understand exactly how they work and why they are so important for people of all ages. Because of this, DispatchHealth has outlined the basics of vaccination, starting with how vaccines work.
How Do Vaccines Work?
When your body is exposed to any germ for the first time, it produces antibodies to fight it. With vaccines, a weakened form of the disease is injected into your body so that your immune system detects the invading germ and produces the necessary antibodies. This way, if you come into contact with the actual disease, your body will fight it off and prevent you from becoming sick.
Why Do We Need Vaccines?
Vaccines are a crucial component to staying protected from viruses and bacteria that cause illness and death. Many vaccine-preventable diseases have not gone away and can still be passed on to those who are not protected by vaccines. Therefore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend vaccinations throughout your life to protect against many diseases and infections.
Not Everyone Can Get Vaccines
It is generally recommended for infants, children, teenagers, and adults to get vaccines. However, there are some people who can’t or shouldn’t receive vaccinations, including:
Young infants who are under 2 months old
People with underlying medical conditions or chronic illnesses
Those who are allergic or don’t respond well to vaccines
People with compromised immune systems
Since not everyone can be vaccinated, it is critical for those who are able to be vaccinated and preserve herd immunity.
When the majority of a population is vaccinated against infectious diseases, it can also provide indirect protection to those who are not—this is called herd immunity. The exact percentage needed to reach herd protection varies depending on how contagious a specific disease is, but typically anywhere from 50%-90% of the population needs immunity for infection rates to decline. Obviously, the higher number of people who are vaccinated against a disease, the better.
In the United States, we have achieved herd immunity for a number of infectious diseases such as measles, mumps, polio, and chickenpox. These diseases were once very common but now are quite rare due to vaccines being developed and administered.
Vaccines Are Safe
The concept of vaccines can lead to confusion or misunderstandings for some people. It’s sometimes incorrectly assumed that you can get sick from a vaccine because it contains a weakened form of a virus. This is false; vaccines will not cause the diseases they are designed to prevent. Furthermore, the United States has a very robust approval process to ensure that all licensed vaccines are safe. While there can be potential side effects associated with certain vaccines, they are rare and much less severe than the actual diseases they are designed to prevent.
Protect Yourself & Those Around You
If you are able to, it is incredibly important to receive on-time vaccination to preserve your health and protect those around you. Vaccination is a highly effective, easy way to keep your family healthy. Here are a few helpful reminders regarding adult vaccinations:
You should get the flu vaccine every year and the Tetanus-Diphtheria (Td) vaccine every 10 years.
If you’re 50 or older then you should get the shingles vaccine.
Adults 65 or older need one dose of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) followed by one dose of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23).
Of course, you should consult with your primary care physician before receiving any vaccines. He or she can discuss which vaccines are right for you based on your age and health history and also answer any questions you may have regarding vaccinations.
Receive Supplement Care From DispatchHealth
While we do not currently offer vaccines, DispatchHealth can provide on-demand, in-home medical care services for non-life-threatening conditions or concerns. Whether you need some extra care while you wait for an available doctor’s appointment or have symptoms that make it difficult to leave the house, DispatchHealth is here to fill in the gaps and supplement the services of primary care physicians and urgent care clinics. Explore our site to learn about conditions we treat or contact us to schedule an appointment.
For life-threatening and time-sensitive injuries and illnesses, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. DispatchHealth shouldn’t be used in a life-threatening emergency and doesn’t replace a primary care provider.
DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies.
Sources referenced in this article: