End of summer means it’s time to update your vaccines

Published 9:22 am Saturday, September 7, 2013

As summer draws to an end, it is an ideal time to review your health records for any vaccines that may be due. Vaccines provide protection by helping you develop memory cells against serious bacterial and viral illnesses: tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), rotavirus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, influenza, varicella zoster (chicken pox and shingles), meningitis, hepatitis A and B, human papillomavirus (HPV), and pneumonia.

Wendy Steinkraus, DNP, FNP-BC

Wendy Steinkraus, DNP, FNP-BC

Consider three common myths regarding vaccinations:

Many vaccines are unnecessary because the diseases have been eliminated in the U.S.

Many of the vaccine-preventable illnesses in our country have been controlled because of wide-spread vaccination efforts, improvements in health care, and sanitation practices. Unfortunately, these illnesses exist in other countries. Exposure and development of these illnesses may spread quickly to unvaccinated individuals.

Vaccines cause symptoms of the illness.

Mild side effects may occur after vaccination, such as low grade temperature, soreness, or generalized ache. Consider how these side effects compare to those of the actual illness.

Rarely, severe reactions do occur, just as they can with any medication administration. Severe reactions are reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by the health care provider to be investigated more thoroughly. Development of an individualized vaccination plan is recommended between the health care provider and patient/guardian.

Receiving multiple vaccinations at the same time increases the risk of multiple side effects and can weaken the immune system.

Rigorous trials are undergone to demonstrate safety and efficacy for all vaccination schedules. Vaccination schedules would not be recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the United States Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices unless they have demonstrated safety and efficacy.

Schedule an appointment with your health care provider to discuss which vaccines can best protect you from preventable illnesses. Your health care provider can supply you with vaccine-specific information sheets that review risks, benefits, and side effect profiles for each recommended vaccination. Patients are encouraged to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/ to answer questions regarding vaccine safety and which are recommended for each age category. Information enclosed in this writing was obtained from this high-quality website.


Wendy Steinkraus, DNP, FNP-BC

Cassopolis Family Clinic