The value of vaccines
As flu season fast approaches and efforts are underway to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, now is the time to educate yourself on the valuable role vaccinations play in keeping you, your family and your community as safe as possible.
“This season more than ever it’s important to get your flu vaccination,” said Sue Galoff, HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals infection prevention manager. “It is possible to contract the flu and COVID-19 at the same time which puts a bigger strain on your immune system, causing more discomfort and possibly more time away from work and loved ones.”
In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, Galoff says there are 6 things to know about vaccination:
- Everyone needs vaccines throughout their lifetime. Vaccines build immunity to many serious, and potentially deadly viruses. Immunization is the best protection against these illnesses. The CDC and other health care experts update vaccine recommendations each year based on the latest research and science.
- Vaccines give you the power to protect your children from getting sick. Immunization has an enormous impact on improving the health of children in the U.S. The CDC says vaccination is the best way to protect infants, children and teens from 16 potentially harmful illnesses. To learn which vaccines your child needs and when, talk with your health care provider or visit the vaccines for children webpage of the CDC.
- Women can protect infants by getting vaccinated during pregnancy. Pregnant mothers share everything with their baby. That means getting a vaccine during pregnancy passes some protection onto a newborn in the first few months of life when they are too young to build immunity on their own.
- Vaccines are not just for children. Even if you were vaccinated as a child, the protection from some types of viruses can wear off over time. Also, as an adult you may be at risk for other health complications due to age, job, lifestyle, travel or family history. Vaccination is the safest and easiest way to protect yourself from viruses that could further complicate other medical conditions. To see which vaccinations are recommended for adults, visit the immunization schedule webpage of the CDC.
- Outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases can and still do happen in communities across the U.S. Viruses that cause preventable illnesses still exist and can spread among those who are unvaccinated at a rapid rate. This puts all children and adults at risk.
- The CDC and FDA take many steps to ensure vaccines are safe. Before a vaccine is approved for use in the U.S., extensive and careful testing is implemented to ensure it is safe and effective. The facilities where vaccinations are developed are inspected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regularly to ensure those locations meet strict guidelines. Once a vaccine is licensed, the FDA and CDC continue to monitor its use and, in the case of influenza, its effectiveness against each season’s strain of the flu virus.
For more information about vaccination, visit CDC.gov/vaccines