As an important preventive health measure, vaccinations (immunizations) help stop the spread of many contagious diseases and other illnesses. To help keep everyone in your family healthy, it’s important to get the correct vaccination at the right time.
At Nation’s Best Family Health Care with two offices in Panama City, Florida, Dr. Roman Nation and our care team specializes in family medicine, a unique branch of health care that allows us to diagnose and treat acute and ongoing health issues for every member of your family.
As part of our comprehensive family medicine care, Dr. Nation recommends all patients receive recommended vaccinations to promote optimal wellness and keep you and your family healthy and safe. It’s not always easy, however, to know if you’re up-to-date with the latest vaccines and boosters.
While some immunizations follow a specific schedule based on age, others are administered on a timeline dependent on other factors, including when you received your last vaccine. Take a moment to learn more about vaccinations and whether you’re on schedule.
Why do I need vaccinations?
Health officials recommend routine vaccinations for children and adults to protect our Florida community members and families from serious illnesses and diseases. Many vaccinations used today were developed many years ago and continue to help stop the spread and devastating health consequences of infectious diseases, such as smallpox.
Newer immunizations, like the vaccination against the human papillomavirus (HPV), work to prevent cancer-causing infections, or stop the spread of a global pandemic, like the COVID-19 vaccine. Global immunization efforts have eliminated many threats from disease, helping keep our world safer for everyone.
But if people don’t stay up-to-date on immunizations, research explains we might experience a resurgence of diseases we thought were under control. Unfortunately, only 1 in 5 US adults are up-to-date with their immunizations.
Which vaccines do I need and when?
At Nation’s Best Family Health Care, your provider reviews you and/or your child’s medical history to make sure you get the right vaccinations on schedule. For patients who don’t have access to or can’t remember their immunization history, Dr. Nation may recommend a blood test to determine which vaccines you need.
Childhood vaccinations begin shortly after birth and continue with new vaccines and booster shots throughout childhood. Here are the most common childhood vaccinations you can expect your child to receive:
- Hepatitis A and B
- Measles, mumps, and rubella
- Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough)
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
Because children receive so many different immunizations, it’s easiest to view the recommended schedule from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Keep in mind that if you plan to travel outside of the US, your child may need additional vaccinations.
While many people associate vaccinations with childhood, immunizations and boosters are actually lifelong preventive measures against illness and disease. Here are some of the most common adult vaccinations and the general cadence at which they’re administered:
- Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (every 10 years)
- Shingles (once for adults over 60)
- Measles, mumps, and rubella (varies)
- Hepatitis A and B (varies)
- Meningococcal (depends for adults under 65; once for adults over 65)
- Pneumococcal (varies)
- Influenza (once every year)
Remember that everyone’s vaccination schedule may differ slightly based on individual needs and immunization history.
What about the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine?
You may have received the flu shot in the past, but the CDC recommends every person ages six months and older get vaccinated against the flu every year. This is because influenza strains change each season, so the flu shot you got last year won’t protect you against the new version of the flu.
Because it takes about two weeks after getting the flu shot for you to make antibodies that protect you from the flu virus, the best time to get the vaccine is in the fall. However, it’s never too late to get protected from the flu, so talk to your Nation’s Best Family Health Care provider to get a flu shot at any time.
Many current vaccinations use small amounts of the disease’s antigen to train your immune system to develop antibodies in case you’re exposed to the antigen in the future. Two of the most effective COVID-19 vaccines (made by Pfizer and Moderna) work differently than many vaccinations of the past.
These COVID-19 vaccines don’t use the live coronavirus or antigens. Instead, they use messenger RNA (mRNA) that identifies the virus and triggers your body’s immune response to stop you from getting sick or minimizing the disease’s impact on your health.
To learn more about common childhood and adult immunizations or to find out if your vaccinations are up-to-date, schedule an appointment at the Nation’s Best Family Health Care office in Panama City, Florida, nearest you.