The sickness and deaths COVID-19 has caused makes immunization more important than ever. While social distancing, hand hygiene, and a clean environment are vital, a safe and effective vaccine will bolster those measures. Around the world, scientists are working on a vaccine for this novel coronavirus.
Fewer and fewer people have had experience with serious infectious diseases like measles, rubella, polio, and diphtheria, so maybe that explains why in recent years immunization rates for many diseases have plummeted. Also due to misinformation about the value and risk of immunization, some people lost confidence in vaccines to protect us against disease without causing significant side effects or adverse events.
As a result, we still have outbreaks of measles and whooping cough (pertussis) and seasonal influenza disease and deaths. The threat of a new virulent disease due to a novel coronavirus highlights the value of immunization.
immunizations by age
On the first two charts, vaccines are listed on the far left column. On the top row, find your age, then scroll down to find the vaccines appropriate for you.
questions to ask about vaccines and the immunization process include.
- What contagious diseases am I likely to be exposed to or at risk for?
- What are the risks of those diseases?
- What are the risks of a particular vaccine for me?
- What are the risks versus benefits of immunization?
- What else can we do to prevent an infection?
vaccines by medical condition
On these charts vaccines are also listed on the far left column. Across the top row are various medial conditions that should be considered along with age in recommending a particular vaccine. It’s just as important to know what vaccines you should not receive as those that you should.
Please visit the CDC website for complete details about the various vaccines and discuss your need for immunizations with your and your children’s physicians.
“Am I contagious?”
Most of us have gone to work, school or social events with symptoms suggestive of infection- a cough, runny nose, upset stomach- putting our friends and colleagues at risk. Isolation of sick people and quarantine of their contacts slows the spread of infectious disease and is helping to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even before COVID-19, patients visit me with new onset symptoms, or symptoms that have been present several days, and ask “am I contagious?” Most of the time I can’t tell them definitely whether they are or not. When in doubt, it’s best to not expose other people unnecessarily, especially those who are most susceptible.
This coronavirus pandemic is serious. We don’t yet have a vaccine or effective treatments. To protect ourselves, our familes, and our entire communities we should all be practicing social distancing and other hygiene measures as we wait for a safe, effective vaccine and treatments.
RESOURCES FOR understanding COVID-19
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These may be good options as long as we need to stay in our homes.