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The Importance of Being Vaccinated

The physicians at Arizona Blood and Cancer Specialists want you and your loved ones to have the best chance of living well by reminding you to get vaccinated. Immunizations are one of the greatest achievements in medicine and they save millions of lives annually.

Adults should be up to date on all of their vaccines. The vaccinations we receive as children don’t last for a lifetime. Adults need to be vaccinated yearly against influenza. The flu season in the US typically starts in October and peaks between December and February, however healthcare experts from the CDC are recommending that people get their flu shots early this year. While it is never good to get the flu, it can be especially bad this year, with the potential for the flu happening alongside the current COVID-19 pandemic.

It is also recommended that adults over the age of 65 be vaccinated against pneumonia, as that population is at an increased risk for pneumococcal disease. The CDC reported that their latest stats from 2018 show that an estimated 59,000 people died in one year, in the US, from influenza and pneumonia.

Adults need to stay current with their diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccines and should discuss with their healthcare providers about being vaccinated against shingles. It is recommended that healthy adults, age 50 and older get two doses of Shingrix (shingles vaccine in use since 2017), separated by 2 to 6 months. Shingrix is also recommended even if you have already had shingles, received a Zostavax shingles vaccine (shingles vaccine in use since 2006), or aren’t sure if you ever had chicken pox. There is no maximum age for being vaccinated with Shingrix.

Babies and children need vaccinations to help provide immunity and boost their immune system. Vaccinations protect children under the age of two from 14 preventable diseases. Since pneumococcal disease is also common in young children, the CDC recommends vaccinating all children younger than 2 years of age. As children age to adulthood, 2 additional vaccinations protect them from meningitis or cancers caused by the human papillomavirus.

For anyone traveling out of country, it is important that all vaccinations are current.

The CDC cautions that because of age or health conditions, some people should not get certain vaccines or should wait before getting them.

We encourage you to talk to your doctor as soon as possible about which vaccines are right for you.

Author


Sherri Porterfield, RN, MSN

Sherri Porterfield, RN, MSN has over 25 years of experience educating patients and the community on a variety of health topics. She enjoys being active in the community where she has volunteered her time and expertise serving as a guest lecturer in Green Valley and Tucson.