What you need to know about vaccines

Ask the Expert

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) — This year, the CDC has reported over 800 cases of measles from 23 states, which is the largest number since the disease was eliminated in the U.S. 19 years ago. 

From birth to adulthood, the CDC recommends a list of vaccines that contain a small amount of a virus to provide immunity from deadly diseases like the measles, mumps and diptheria. 

“It’s kind of like you’re training your immune system to fight against an actual infection that would come your way,” explains Bon Secours St. Francis Family Medicine Physician Meredith Vejnar.

Dr. Vejnar says some parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children after hearing that there are ties between vaccine and autism, a theory that researchers say is false.

“Not one thing can be attributed to the diagnosis of autism, and certainly immunizations have been disproven,” she says.

She adds that if someone who hasn’t been vaccinated contracts a disease like the measles, they are putting others at risk.

“We think about those that are really young and really old as being at increased risk because they either cant get vaccinated or they don’t mount an appropriate immune response.”

The World Health Organization listed vaccine hesitancy, the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines, as one of the top 10 threats to global health in 2019. The American Academy of Researchers has more information for parents who are hesitant about vaccines here.

Dr. Vejnar reminds us that the flu shot doesn’t always cover all strains and says you’re better off with it than without it.

“It’s probably more coincidental that people got the flu after they got the flu vaccine but the flu shot does not cause the flu,” she says. “It’s likely they’ll have a less serious response to the flu because they were vaccinated.”

The CDC has immunization schedules for infants, children and adults here.

As indicated in the schedule for adults, The CDC recommends that adults get a tetanus shot every 10 years, annual flu shots, a shingles vaccine at age 50 and pneumonia vaccines at age 60.

The CDC recommends a hepatitus B vaccine at birth followed by several other vaccines for the first 6 months of the infant’s life. At 12 months of age, the infant is recommended for the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, among others.

Children are recommended to receive annual flu shots and several vaccines from ages 4-6, 11-12 and 16-18. 

Women who are planning to become pregnant are recommended to receive a vaccine for the measles, mumps and rubella one month before becoming pregnant. 

Vaccinations could have some side effects, including inflammation around the site of the injection, which Dr. Vejnar says is the most common negative side effect.

Risks of infection are higher for those undergoing cancer treatments and people on anti-inflammatory drugs or immune suppression medications, so she recommends always checking with your doctor before receiving a vaccine.

Those with special health conditions like diabetes, liver disease or HIV infection can click here for CDC immunization recommondations.

You can submit health questions for our Ask the Expert series on our website by clicking here.

To hear more from experts at Bon Secours St. Francis Health System on this topic and others, listen every Saturday morning at 10am on 106.3 WORD radio.  

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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