Why It’s Important to Keep Your Immunizations Current
April 26 2022
5 Reasons Why It’s Important to Stay Current on Your Vaccinations
We all want to do what is best for our health and the health of our families. World Immunization Week starts April 24, 2022, so now is a good time to make sure you are up-to-date on your vaccinations.
The practice of immunization actually dates back hundreds of years. Records indicate that as early as the 1500s, the Chinese were practicing a form of inoculation against smallpox. It involved grinding up smallpox scabs and breathing the matter in through the nostril.
In 1796, Edward Jenner successfully immunized an eight-year-old boy from smallpox by infecting him with cowpox, part of the same family of viruses as smallpox. The boy was then exposed to smallpox and remained healthy thanks to the immunization he received from cowpox.
A watershed moment on the importance of vaccinations in the public eye happened thanks to the polio epidemic in the early 1900s. Few diseases frightened parents more in the early part of the 20th century. Polio swept through cities and while most recovered quickly, many polio survivors were disabled for life. A breakthrough in the polio vaccine was thanks to Jonas Salk. Today, the polio vaccine is still recommended worldwide because of its effectiveness in preventing the spread of the disease.
Beyond the history of vaccines, there are real benefits to staying current on your vaccinations. Here are 5 reasons why you should stay up-to-date on your immunizations.
They Are Effective and Safe
1 Immunization is critical to preventing the spread of infectious disease. By getting vaccinated, you are providing yourself protection from serious disease. It is because of this effectiveness that vaccines are widely recognized by the field of health as the most successful and cost-effective of health interventions.
It’s not just scientists who recognize that fact. Most health plans cover 100% of the costs of vaccines, including for the flu, measles, pneumonia, and childhood immunizations because of the preventative benefit.
Beyond that, vaccines are extremely safe. All vaccines go through rigorous testing and studies to make sure they are both effective and safe. Those that reach both criteria are the ones that get approved for use.
Getting Vaccinated Protects Others
2 There are some people who can’t get shots, such as babies who are too young for a vaccine or those who have severe allergies to something in a vaccine. By getting vaccinated, you are protecting that vulnerable population.
Vaccines Save You Time and Money
3 No one likes to call in sick to work or school. It can mean work piles up for some and for others, it can mean a reduction in their paycheck. There are also many preventable diseases that result in long-term health problems if you are not vaccinated. This can mean time away from work or school for your child as well as additional medical bills. Because many vaccines are covered by insurance, getting vaccinated saves you even more money.
Many Schools and Daycares Require Shots Records
4 It is especially important for young children to be up-to-date on their vaccinations as shot records are required by many schools and daycares in order to attend. Diseases spread easily among children in group settings, so protecting your child and those around them from serious health problems is extremely important.
Our Future Health Depends on Today’s Vaccines
5 It may not seem like staying current on your immunizations is important, but by getting vaccinated, we are protecting our future health. Safe and effective vaccines have greatly reduced or virtually eradicated many diseases that once killed or seriously hurt people. Thanks to the polio vaccine, there have been no known cases of polio to have originated in the United States since 1979. The success of smallpox vaccines in the US have virtually eradicated the disease and routine vaccination for the disease ended in 1972.
That is the power that vaccinations have! Our future health depends on our willingness to stay current on vaccinations. When we are vaccinated, we keep serious illness at bay or end a disease’s ability to use our body as a host to replicate.
When we don’t stay current on vaccinations, we risk not only our own health, but the health of those around us, and we allow disease to spread rampantly among our communities.
How to Stay Current on Your Vaccinations
While the protection of some vaccines we receive as children lasts virtually a lifetime, some vaccines require booster doses in adulthood. Other vaccines, like for the flu, require annual doses.
You can check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended guidelines for immunization schedules online. Be sure to speak with your doctor to create the best care plan for you or to see if you are in need of a booster shot.