Vaccines Aren’t Just for Babies!

By Pamela Kirkland, West Central Health District Columbus Health Department /

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and your local Health Department provides vaccines for every stage of your life.

“Immunizations are the number one way to fight vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Cathy Henderson, RN, District Immunization Coordinator. “Most of us are focused on children’s immunizations during the back-to-school season, but it’s also a good time to remember vaccines for all ages.”

It’s easy to think of certain diseases as part of the past. But the truth is they still exist. Many in the United States can-and do-still get some of these diseases. Vaccinations protect our families and communities; especially infants and those individuals who are unable to be immunized or who have weakened immune systems. Safe and effective vaccines are available to protect adults and children alike against potentially life-threatening diseases such as: Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Meningococcal Disease, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Varicella (Chickenpox).

Travel vaccines are also available at the health department. Influenza occurs year-round in the Caribbean, and April through September in the Southern Hemisphere, so a flu vaccine is of particular importance. Other threats include malaria, typhoid, hepatitis A and B, yellow fever, and rabies. Vaccines should be given four to six weeks before departure so they have time to become fully effective. Call ahead to ensure vaccine availability for the country you are visiting.

The 16 counties of the West Central Health District remind you to protect yourself, your family and your community. No appointment is needed for immunizations, and some insurance plans are accepted. Visit westcentralhealthdistrict.com to find the location nearest you.

For more information about immunizations and recommendations, visit the CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/index.html.

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