Americans keep their computer software up to date to prevent viruses, but it’s also important to keep their immunizations up-to-date to fight against disease. Immunizations protect people from many preventable diseases, and the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH) recommends residents check with their healthcare provider to make sure they are fully protected from all 14 vaccine-preventable diseases.
DBCH Commissioner A. K. Vaidian, MD, MPH said, “Many Americans get sick every year from diseases that can be prevented by vaccines. Immunization is the best protection against these diseases. Last year’s flu season reminds us that everyone age 6 months and older needs a seasonal flu shot every year.”
Today’s childhood vaccines protect against severe and critical diseases, including polio, measles, chicken pox, whooping cough, and hepatitis. Immunizations, however, aren’t just for babies and young children. Residents of all ages need immunizations to protect them from serious disease and illness.
Preteen and teen vaccinations protect against severe and potentially life-threatening diseases, including meningitis, septicemia, and cancers caused by Human papillomavirus (HPV). Common immunizations include vaccinations for Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), MCV4 (meningococcal conjugate), and HPV. Teenagers need a booster shot at age 16 to help protect them from meningitis.
Adults also need vaccines according to their age, lifestyle, risk conditions, and travel plans. All adults need a booster shot every 10 years to protect against tetanus and diphtheria. People over 65 are also recommended to get their pneumonia vaccines.
Shingrix is a new vaccine that protects against shingles, and it is recommended for those 50 and above. The two-dose series is given six months apart and is recommended for those who have previously received Zostavax; have had shingles; or are not certain if they had chicken pox. It is important for residents to discuss the risks and benefits of the Shingrix vaccine with their healthcare provider.
“There is a misconception among many that vaccines are only for the young, but the reality is you never outgrow the need for immunizations,” added Dr. Vaidian. “It’s also important to know which shots you need and when to get them.”
The Dutchess County Immunization Clinic, located at 29 N. Hamilton Street in Poughkeepsie, offers immunizations for individuals without health insurance or the under-insured. To make an appointment, please call (845) 486-3535. To view immunization schedules and learn more visit Dutchessny.gov/Immunizations.