DECATUR, Ill. (WAND)- With flu season approaching and efforts underway on the creation of a COVID-19 vaccine, health officials encourage people to get their flu vaccine.
HSHS Illinois hospitals want to remind everyone the valuable role vaccinations play in keeping families safe. Dr. Jignesh Modi, an infectious diseases physician, said most diseases are preventable with a vaccine.
"We use a lot of vaccines here and again, we don't see too severe diseases that we used to see like 20 years ago," Modi said.
Modi explained this year is an important year to get a flu vaccine because of the novel coronavirus.
"Until the coronavirus vaccine comes, we recommend everyone get a flu vaccine, because symptoms are the same, so it's better we get protected," he said. "We don't know how it will be in the next couple of months when we start seeing more influenza cases, so it's better to protect yourself from what you can right now."
According to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here are six things to know about vaccines:
1) Everyone needs vaccines throughout their lives to help protect against serious diseases.
Every year, thousands of Americans get sick from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines, sometimes leading to hospitalization and even death. Immunization is the best protection against these diseases. The CDC and other medical experts update vaccine recommendations every year based on the latest research and science. To learn what vaccines a person should have, visit cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules.
2) Outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases can and do still happen in communities across the U.S.
Vaccines have greatly reduced infectious diseases that once regularly harmed or killed many infants, children and adults. However, the germs that cause vaccine-preventable disease still exist and can be spread to people who are not protected by vaccines. For example, the CDC reports that even though measles was declared to be eliminated from the U.S. in 2000, it is still common in other countries and as such, unvaccinated travelers have contracted measles abroad and spread the disease to others in the U.S. upon return, leading to a number of outbreaks in recent years. It is important to remember that vaccinations not only protect the person who gets the vaccine, but also help to keep diseases from spreading to others, like family members, neighbors, classmates and other members of communities.
3) The CDC and FDA take many steps to make sure vaccines are very safe.
People sometimes express concern about the safety of vaccines. Before a vaccine is approved for use in the U.S., it goes through careful testing to make sure it is safe and effective. Highly-trained scientists and doctors at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluate the results of these studies. The sites where vaccines are made are also inspected by the FDA to ensure they follow strict guidelines. Once a vaccine is licensed, the FDA and CDC continue to monitor its use and make sure there are no safety concerns. Vaccines can cause mild side effects, like any medication, but typically go away within a few days. Severe, long-lasting side effects from vaccines are rare.
4) Vaccines give you the power to protect your children from getting sick.
Immunization has had an enormous impact on improving the health of children in the United States. The CDC shares that vaccination is one of the best ways parents can protect infants, children and teens from 16 potentially harmful diseases. Vaccine-preventable diseases can be very serious, may require hospitalization or even be deadly — especially in infants and young children. For a family to see if their child is up-to-date, they should visit cdc.gov/vaccines/parents and talk to their doctor.
5) A person can make sure their baby is born with protection by getting vaccinated when they are pregnant.
Pregnant mothers share everything with their baby. That means when they get vaccinated during pregnancy, they are passing some protection on to their baby in the first few months of life when they are too young to build immunity on their own. The CDC recommends mothers get whooping cough and flu vaccines during each pregnancy to help protect themselves and their developing baby. For more information, visit cdc.gov/vaccines/pregnancy and talk to a doctor at a next appointment.
6) Vaccines aren't just for children. They can help adults stay healthy too – especially if they have health conditions.
Even if a person got all their vaccines as a child, the protection from some vaccines can wear off over time. A person may also be at risk for other diseases due to age, job, lifestyle, travel or health conditions. Adults with chronic conditions like asthma/COPD, heart disease, and diabetes are more likely to get complications from certain diseases. Vaccination is an important part of staying healthy in a person's whole life. Adults can also take a vaccine quiz to see what vaccines are recommended at https://www2.cdc.gov/nip/adultimmsched, then discuss the results with their health care provider.
For more information on vaccinations, visit cdc.gov/vaccines.