August is National Immunization Awareness Month. Immunizations needs are broken down in groups – babies & young children, school-age children, preteens & teens, adults, and pregnant women.
Vaccines for babies and young children protect infants from 14 diseases by the time they reach 2 years of age. They must receive all doses of each vaccine and they should be administered in the proper timeframe.
School-age children should be properly vaccinated according the immunization schedule as they are entering daycare facilities, public schools, and even colleges where illnesses are easily spread.
Preteens and teens need to receive the meningococcal conjugate vaccine, HPV vaccine, Tdap vaccine, and should have a yearly flu vaccine. Certain immunizations are required by school systems for students based on different grade levels.
All adults should get the influenza vaccine annually. In addition, they will need one dose of the Tdap vaccine if it wasn’t received as a teen, and then a Td booster every 10 years. Adults 50 years or older should receive a shingles vaccine, and those 65 and over should receive a pneumococcal vaccine. Other vaccines may be required based on age, occupation, travel, and medical conditions.
Before becoming pregnant women should be up-to-date on their vaccinations. Your provider may recommend a whooping cough vaccine and a flu shot during pregnancy. In some cases, vaccinations may also be necessary after giving birth. Pregnancy is also a perfect time to learn about the necessary vaccines for children.
While everyone should receive these required vaccines, it’s important to visit with your family medicine provider or your child’s pediatrician. Based on individual needs, your provider may have specific recommendations for which vaccines to receive and the appropriate timeline for you. Visit with your provider during your annual wellness exam to learn more about the immunization needs for you and your loved ones.