August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) and at TriStar Hendersonville Medical Center, we believe it is the perfect time to encourage you to protect yourself and your family against serious diseases that can be prevented with vaccinations. And with the COVID-19 virus continuing to spread in our communities, it is more important than ever to consider how seasonal flu and other vaccines can make a difference in the health of you and your loved ones this fall and winter.
Public health officials, including CDC director Robert Redfield, are strongly urging everyone to get the seasonal flu vaccine when it becomes available in September. While it is not fully known at this time whether a person can be diagnosed with both flu and COVID-19 simultaneously, we do know that the flu vaccine can prevent serious illness, especially in the elderly and those with chronic health conditions, such as heart and lung disease.
With flu cases expected to be on the rise in October, you should plan to get your flu vaccine in September or early October in order for your vaccination to reach peak effectiveness before the flu is spreading in our community. If your employer does not provide the flu vaccine, ask your doctor's office when they will provide them, call the health department, or take advantage of getting the vaccine while you are at the grocery store or visiting your pharmacy, where vaccines are typically available.
Other vaccines every older adult needs include:
- Shingles: 2 doses, starting at age 50
- Td or Tdap: booster every 10 years
- Pneumococcal: 1 dose of each type, starting at age 65
Vaccines you may need depending on your health history and other factors:
- Pneumococcal, under age 65: one or both types
- Meningococcal: one or both of each type, in rare cases
- Hib: 1 or 3 doses, depending on indication
Vaccines you may need if you didn't get them as a child:
- Td or Tdap: 1 dose, then booster every 10 years
- Chickenpox: 2 doses
- Hepatitis A: 2 or 3 doses
- Hepatitis B: 2 or 3 doses
It's important that you speak with your primary care physician about the immunizations that are right for you. You can also visit the CDC.gov to learn more about recommended vaccinations by age, health condition, job or travel plans. Common side effects of most immunizations include injection site pain, swelling and redness. You should discuss these and other possible side effects with your doctor.
The bottom line is, vaccines are important weapons that can protect you and your loved ones from illness, disease and even death. With advancements happening every day in vaccine therapy, it's important to ask your healthcare provider which vaccines are appropriate for you. If you need help finding a provider, please call TriStar MedLine at (615) 342-1919 and a representative will help you find one close to you and can assist you in making an appointment.