Everybody over the age of 6 months needs a seasonal flu shot each year, says Southwest District Health Director Dr. Jacqueline Grant. But that’s one of the points she is stressing during August – National Immunization Month.
“Immunizations are not just for infants and children,” Grant said. “We all need vaccinations to protect us from serious diseases and illnesses. For example, the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone 6 months and older get a seasonal influenza shot every year.”
August is National Immunization Awareness Month, Grant said. “This is the time of year when many of us are thinking about preparing our children to go back to school by getting their vaccinations up to date,” she said. “If we have college-age children, then there are vaccinations for bacterial meningitis, Human Papillomavirus (HVP) and Tdap (tetanus, diptheria and pertussis, also known as whooping cough) to consider.”
Grant said it is important to remember that different shots are appropriate for different populations at different ages.
• Children under age 6 get a series of vaccines to protect against measles, mumps, polio, chicken pox, meningitis and hepititis
• 11- and 12-year-olds need shots to help protect them against tetanus, diptheria, whooping cough and meningitis
• Doctors also recommend preteens get the HPV vaccine to protect against the most common cause of cervical cancer in girls and some cancers in boys
• Adolescents and adults need the Tdap (tetanus, diptheria and whooping cough) vaccine
• Adults over 64 can now have the Tdap vaccine
• Adults need a tetanus shot every 10 years
• People age 65 need a one-time pneumonia shot
“Talk to your healthcare provider about what vaccines you and your family need and when you should get them,” Grant said.
“Vaccinations are one of the most successful and cost-effective public health tools available for preventing disease and death, she said. “They not only help protect vaccinated individuals, but also help protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases.”
For more information about immunizations, contact your local county health department or go online to www.southwestgeorgiapublichealth.org.