The Importance of Immunizations For Children and Adults

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and is the perfect time to discuss the importance of immunizations for both children and adults.

Immunizations are scheduled throughout childhood, with many beginning within the first few months of life. By following a regular schedule, and making sure children are immunized at the right times, you're ensuring the best defense against dangerous childhood diseases.

Vaccines benefit both those who get vaccinated and those around them, as exposure to illnesses is reduced. Therefore, people that cannot receive vaccines due to underlying medical conditions or prescribed medicines (including chemotherapy) receive some benefit from being around others who have received all recommended vaccines. In addition, immunizations reduce the number of deaths and disability from infections such as measles, whooping cough and chickenpox, several of which have been in the news lately for recent outbreaks.

Although children receive the majority of the vaccinations, adults also need to be sure they are already immune to certain infections and/or stay up-to-date on certain vaccinations. Vaccines for illnesses such as chicken pox, seasonal influenza, tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, measles, mumps, rubella, shingles, human papillomavirus (HPV), pneumococcal, hepatitis A and B and meningitis are recommended.

As with any medication, vaccinations may have side effects such as soreness at the injection site or low-grade fever. Although more serious reactions are rare, they can occur. Your healthcare provider can answer any questions you might have. Keep in mind, the risks of not being vaccinated are much greater than possible side effects.

Anne Marie Bianculli, MD

Author of this Article

Dr. Anne Marie Bianculli is a pediatrician at IU Health Arnett Medical Offices. For more information, please contact IU Health Arnett at 765.448.8000.

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