Time to get annual immunization shots

Backpack, lunch box, notebooks, markers, crayons, shots.

“Wait, what?” my 13year-old daughter questions me.

I remind her it is also the time for her yearly physical exam and immunization shots with her medical provider. As we begin to prepare for another great year of school, let’s remember to protect our families and community against diseases with immunizations.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month. Immunizations prevent specific diseases across a lifespan for children, adults, and when traveling in the U.S. and to other countries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is a group of medical and public health experts that develops recommendations on how to use vaccines to control diseases in the U.S.

ACIP has recommended schedules for all ages, and most vaccines, commonly referred to as shots, are covered by health insurance plans or your local community Health Department. Vaccine questions, and which specific vaccines you should get, can be reviewed at any medical provider visit.

Diseases such as chicken pox, pneumonia, shingles, hepatitis, tetanus, cervical cancer, whooping cough and flu can be prevented with a vaccine. Some minor side effects may occur with a vaccine, most commonly rashes and itching. Serious reactions to a vaccine are rare. Your medical provider will be able to answer questions and help decide which vaccinations are appropriate for you.

“That shot didn’t hurt,” my daughter shares with her other sisters watching from across the exam room as the nurse places a Band-Aid across her arm. “That was to prevent a disease and possible serious effects it may have caused us, our school friends, and others we will come in contact with in the future. Daddy gets shots to travel to other countries and even grandma gets shots to protect us and her friends.”

Everyone in the community should think about if they are up to date on the most recent immunization recommendations.

Remember — it’s OK2ASK if you have any questions about your health care and immunizations. For more details, go to www.ok2ask.us. Don’t miss the chance to protect yourself and your community.

Jenn English is an advanced practice provider supervisor with Sheboygan Employer Services Prevea.