We’ve all heard the word “vaccine” quite a bit in the last couple of years as COVID-19 vaccines have been given to millions of Americans.
As these vaccines have been promoted, though, the rates of children and adults receiving vaccines not related to COVID-19 have declined. These vaccines include measles, smallpox, flu, and shingles.
Much of this dip can be attributed to the fact that many people missed in-person visits to their doctors during the COVID pandemic. If this or any other reason has kept you from staying up to date on your vaccines, the team here at Arlington Family Practice can help.
Why are vaccines important?
Vaccines, or immunizations, are preventive treatments that give your body the defenses it needs to fight certain diseases.
Each vaccine is made of a small amount of a diluted version of the disease it’s designed to fight. That enables your body to produce the antibodies it needs to reject the virus if it ever attacks.
Vaccines are critical because they also allow populations to fight off and even eradicate life-threatening diseases (polio is a good example). When you get vaccinated, you’re not just protecting yourself but your community as well.
Common vaccines include those that fight the flu, hepatitis A and B, herpes, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, and pneumococcal disease.
How to stay up to date on your vaccines?
Your first vaccines are generally given when you’re a baby, and you receive more throughout your childhood and later in life.
There’s no national agency that maintains vaccination records, so if you’re not sure which ones you’ve had, check with your doctor to see how far back your records go. You can also check with your state health department, and the Centers for Disease Control has more suggestions.
If you can’t locate your records, ask your doctor if there’s a blood test to check for immunity to a particular disease that may worry you.
You can probably assume you received the usual vaccinations as a child, but you may consider getting adult boosters. Tetanus shots are recommended every 10 years, for example. Again, your doctor can help you determine your level of antibodies to see if you need a booster.
If you’re concerned you may not be up to date on your vaccinations, schedule an appointment with Arlington Family Practice today. Call our office in Arlington, Massachusetts, or use our online request form, and we can sort out your situation and provide the vaccines you need.