During National Immunization Awareness Month in August, Genesis Health System urges all ages to follow an immunization schedule appropriate for their age group and medical history.
Immunizations are not just for kids. All ages need vaccinations to protect them from serious diseases. To schedule an appointment with a Genesis Health Group physician, call (563) 421-DOCS (3627) or go to www.genesishealth.com/findadoc.
In the 1950s and 1960s, childhood diseases were an unfortunate part of a child’s experience. Children were at high risk for chicken pox, mumps and measles. They were going to be miserable, or worse.
In the same period, there were important breakthroughs to prevent childhood diseases, including polio, which took as many as 500,000 lives worldwide in the 1940s and 1950s. The development of the polio vaccine is considered one of the most important breakthroughs in the history of medicine.
Because of vaccines and immunizations, many diseases have virtually disappeared. However, they have, and will, reemerge in populations not vaccinated to prevent the diseases. There have been outbreaks of measles, mumps and pertussis (whooping cough) in the U.S. and across the world.
Genesis Health Group hopes parents will see that children follow the immunization plan recommended by their pediatrician.
For adults, protection against seasonal influenza and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) are recommended. Boosters for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough), also measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (chicken pox), are available and may be recommended.
Older adults should have annual seasonal influenza immunizations, pneumonia protection and possibly a shingles vaccination.
Here are more complete lists of recommended vaccinations for all ages from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For 6-year-old and younger:
Find out which shots adults, seniors and teenagers need:
If you are pregnant, check out this recommended immunization schedule:
Genesis Health System recommends having a relationship with a primary care physician. A primary care physician can monitor and help maintain your health and make recommendations about vaccinations.
Immunization helps prevent dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases. To stay protected against serious illnesses like the flu, measles, and tuberculosis, adults need to get their shots – just like kids do.
National Immunization Awareness Month is a great time to promote vaccines and remind family, friends, and coworkers to stay up to date on their shots.
How can National Immunization Awareness Month make a difference?
We can all use this month to raise awareness about vaccines and share strategies to increase immunization rates with our community.
Here are just a few ideas:
Talk to friends and family members about how vaccines aren’t just for kids. People of all ages can get shots to protect them from serious diseases.
Encourage people in your community to get the flu shot every year.
Invite a doctor or nurse to speak to parents about why it’s important for all kids to get vaccinated.
How can I help spread the word?
We’ve made it easier for you to make a difference! This toolkit is full of ideas to help you take action today. For example:
Add information about immunizations to your newsletter.
Tweet about National Immunization Awareness Month.
Host a community event where families can get together and learn about immunizations.
Add a link to this page on your Web site, blog, or social networking profile.
With classmates looking on, a young student rolls up a sleeve and takes a shot for the team. The student doesn't even blink.
"It doesn't hurt,'' is the student's report to classmates.
The student has become a member of the flu prevention team that is working to create an umbrella of protection against seasonal influenza in the region.
The scene will be played out thousands of times this fall as more than 9,000 elementary school students receive free seasonal influenza vaccinations as part of the Genesis Flu-Free Quad Cities program.
The uniqueness of the program is that young school children are not considered to be a high-risk demographic for seasonal influenza. They get the flu, but usually recover quickly and do not have severe side effects. But children of school age are usually very efficient carriers of the flu to others around them.
"They may carry it to a baby sibling, who is at higher risk, or to grandparents who may be at higher risk,'' explained Michele Cullen, Community Health Manager, Genesis VNA & Hospice. "The idea of Flu-Free Quad Cities is to reach out to the carriers of flu. By doing this, we're also reaching everyone around them.’’
The concept is called herd immunity. If enough people of all ages are immune to the flu, those around them who have not had a flu shot are still protected and spread is limited.
Parents of children in elementary schools will receive information about Flu-Free Quad Cities. There is a consent form they can sign if they want their child to have a flu vaccination at school. The consent form is returned and nurses from Genesis VNA schedule visits to each participating school for a mass immunization.
The vaccinations are free for students, although gifts to sustain the program can be made to the Genesis Health Services Foundation. Some individuals and businesses have provided vaccinations for entire schools or classes.
For information on how you can help protect children and adults around them from seasonal and H1N1 flu, call the Genesis Health Services Foundation at (563) 421-6865.
Genesis Health Group
(563) 421-DOCS (3627)