Let’s get to the basics of immunizations.
According to the CDC, here are a few definitions of immunization terms:
Immunity: Protection from an infectious disease. If you are immune to a disease, you can be exposed to it without becoming infected.
Vaccine: A product that stimulates a person’s immune system to produce immunity to a specific disease, protecting the person from that disease. Vaccines are usually administered through needle injections, but can also be administered by mouth or sprayed into the nose.
Vaccination: The act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease.
Immunization: A process by which a person becomes protected against a disease through vaccination. This term is often used interchangeably with vaccination or inoculation.
It’s always great to know the differences in these terms. This knowledge will help when you are talking with your healthcare providers.
The month of August commemorates National Immunization Awareness Month. It is important to make sure that you are on track with your routine immunizations. Immunization rates, in the past, have been relatively high and stable. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, that rate has significantly decreased. Throughout the pandemic and quarantine, individuals and families may have postponed medical visits and check-ups. In doing this, they have potentially missed out on routine immunizations. This month is a great time to get back up to date with your regular doctor visits and routine immunizations.
Does The Immunization Schedule Ever Change?
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) meets three times every year to review any scientific changes that would require changes to the childhood vaccination schedule. The CDC will officially set the schedule based on ACIP’s recommendations. The schedule will also be approved by other organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Association of Family Physicians.
Which Immunizations Do You Need?
The CDC’s recommended Immunization Schedule seeks to prevent multiple diseases with currently available vaccines. They are:
- Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis
- Haemophilus influenzae type b
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Human papillomavirus
- Measles, mumps and rubella
- Meningococcal (meningitis)
- Pneumococcal (pneumonia)
- Varicella (chicken pox)
- Zoster (shingles- adults only)
You can see the latest charts on the CDC’s website here:
Disclaimer: this information is not a substitute for medical care. As always, you should consult with your doctor or health care provider.