vaccinationsWe all need vaccinations and immunizations to help protect us from serious diseases.  According to the Immunization Action Coalition “during the past 50 years, immunization has saved more than a billion lives and prevented countless illnesses and disabilities in the United States.” Vaccines reduce the risk of infection by working with the body’s natural defenses to help it safely develop immunity to disease.

“Timely and appropriate vaccinations prevent diseases from entering your home and affecting your family and yourself,” said Dr. Dan Kass, MD of Mather Primary Care, a Harbor View Medical Services practice. “It is very important to stay on schedule with vaccines no matter what age group you are in.”

Immunizations are important for the well-being of society as a whole by helping to protect not only those who receive the vaccines but those people who cannot be immunized (children who are too young to be vaccinated, or those who can’t receive certain vaccines for medical reasons), and the small portion of people who don’t respond to a particular vaccine.

Vaccines can prevent serious diseases such as the flu, measles, and pneumonia. It’s important to know which vaccines you need and when to get them. Everyone age six months and older should get a flu vaccine every year, including pregnant women.  Other vaccinations work best when they are given at certain recommended ages.

Remember to inform your doctor of your disease history and allergies, as this may affect the body’s reaction to certain vaccines.

Here are some additional sources for more information on what immunizations you should receive based on age, sex and other factors: