During National Immunization Awareness Month, learn what vaccines you, your kids, and other family members need.
“Vaccination is a shared responsibility,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. “Although you may be healthy and only experience mild illnesses from a vaccine preventable disease, you could pass that disease to people around you who may become seriously ill. Babies who are too young to be vaccinated, older adults, and people with chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes are at greater risk for severe illness or complications. If you’re not willing to get vaccinated to protect yourself, do it for the loved ones around you.”
The Food and Drug Administration thoroughly test vaccines before licensing and carefully monitor them even after they are licensed to ensure that they are safe. Talk with your health care provider if you have concerns about vaccines and what vaccinations you need and when you need them.
Vaccines protect babies from 14 diseases by the time they reach two years of age. It is important that babies receive all doses of each vaccine and receive each vaccination on time. Diseases are unpredictable, so making sure your child is protected is extremely important. Vaccines are the safest and most cost-effective way to prevent several diseases and are even required to attend school.
However, the need for vaccinations does not end in childhood. Vaccines are recommended throughout our lives. Adults should get flu vaccine each year and receive a Td (tetanus and diphtheria) booster vaccine or Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) every 10 years. Tdap is also recommended for pregnant women during each pregnancy. Adults 50 years and older should think about receiving the shingles vaccine. Doctors also suggest that Adults 65 and older should receive both pneumococcal vaccines. Some adults younger than 65 years with certain conditions are also advised to receive one or more pneumococcal vaccinations. Adults may need other vaccines (such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and HPV) depending on their age, if pregnant, occupation, travel, medical conditions, vaccinations they have already received, or other considerations.
For more information about immunizations, including vaccination schedules for infants, children, teens and adults, visit http://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/prevention-wellness/immunization. Adults can also take a vaccine quiz to see what vaccines are recommended at https://www2.cdc.gov/nip/adultimmsched/.
There are programs available to help families as well. The Vaccines for Children program, which provides vaccines at no cost to eligible children who do not otherwise have access to recommended childhood vaccines, can be contacted at (312) 746-6050 in Chicago or (217) 785-1455 for the rest of the state.