“Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones by Staying Up to Date on Immunizations”
by Dr. Tarik Qasim, Internal Medicine and Geriatrics
It’s a sad but undeniable reality that after 2½ years, the COVID-19 pandemic persists, with a substantial number of hospitalizations and around 400 deaths a day still occurring across our country. In addition, tens of thousands more continue to be infected with the coronavirus every day at varying levels of severity. The emergence of variants of the original virus strands – currently BA. 5, – and subvariants of those variants – will continue to be a part of our lives, perhaps for years to come.
As we accept this reality, what has been made clear time and again is that vaccination – or
immunization, as it is also known – is a powerful way to protect ourselves and our loved ones from severe cases of COVID-19.
August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and it’s a time to remember just how effective immunization can be in protecting us from not only COVID-19 but a range of illnesses both mild and severe. This month, take time to review your own immunization record, as well as that of your children, who are perhaps starting back to school this month, and remind your friends and extended relatives to do the same.
Specific Immunizations are recommended for every age, from birth through senior adulthood. Following recommended vaccination schedules like the ones detailed at cdc.gov/vaccines can help ensure that you and your family stay healthy and protected from preventable serious disease. Staying up to date on immunizations is good for your community, too, as it actively helps reduce the spread of infectious illness in our community, schools, workplaces and hospitals.
As for COVID-19, safe, free vaccines are now available for Americans of all ages, including those younger than 5, and a wealth of information about vaccines and boosters and where to get them is available at vaccines.gov and cdc.gov/coronavirus. If you and your family have already been vaccinated for COVID-19, it is recommended that everyone 5 and older receive a booster shot. In addition, individuals 50 and over, or those 12 and over who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, are advised to get two boosters. Refer to those trusted websites or check with your healthcare provider to see if you are eligible for a booster and when you should receive one.
With school starting back, make sure your children are up to date not just on COVID-19 vaccines and boosters but all recommended immunizations. If they’re not, make an appointment with their pediatrician to get them caught up.
The same goes for adults. At your next doctor’s visit, make sure you’re informed about vaccines that can prevent illnesses like shingles, hepatitis A and B, and certain cancers caused by viral infections and which of these vaccines are right for you
Below is a quick list of recommended non-COVID-19 vaccinations for different ages:
Birth, 1-2 month and 6-18 months (3 doses)
2, 4 and 6 months (3 doses)
6 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)
- Young Adults
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 10 years)
Flu – yearly
- Older Adults
50 years and up
Zoster recombinant (Shingles)
Flu – yearly
65 years and up
Flu – yearly
Recommended vaccinations may differ depending on factors like health conditions, lifestyle, so consult with your primary care provider and pediatrician on which immunizations you and your family should receive and when.
Vaccinations are amazing tools of medical science with tremendous benefits. In the ongoing fight against COVD-19, they are key to helping prevent severe illness and lowering community spread.
Help keep yourself and your family protecting by staying up to date on all recommended
immunizations, and encourage others to do the same.
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 856-4161 or 332-4420 or visit the Find a Provider tab at SageWestHealthCare.com to make an appointment and get connected with the care you need.