National Immunization Awareness Month
Dr. Salome Mathews is currently a second-year family medicine resident at the Washington Health System. She is originally from “The Loveliest Village on the Plains” – Auburn, Alabama – where she got her degree in Biomedical Sciences and Spanish at Auburn University. She went on to attend medical school at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Suwanee, Georgia, which is located in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, before deciding to travel up north and make Washington home. In her spare time, you can find her hanging out with her friends, dog sitting, and jamming out to Taylor Swift.
August is her favorite month of the year. Not just because schools are reopening, and college football is just around the corner. It is also National Immunization Awareness Month. With the COVID-19 pandemic, conversation regarding vaccinations have become more mainstream, but there are a few extra points to remember.
Vaccines are Safe and Effective at Preventing Disease!
- Did you know the first vaccine was created in 1796? Edward Jenner did considerable research to confirm you could use cowpox to vaccinate against smallpox, one century before the smallpox virus was even discovered! Since then, all vaccines go through incredibly long and arduous testing to prove safety and efficacy by scientists, doctors, and the federal government to ensure their safety.
- Pediatric immunizations protect children from serious illness and complications of many diseases, including paralysis, hearing loss, convulsions, brain damage, and even death.
- Before vaccines, there was no such thing as herd immunity. People routinely became sick with measles, mumps, chicken pox, rubella. Now, people who are immunocompromised and cannot get vaccines are protected because a large number of the population are already vaccinated against these diseases, making it less likely for the virus to find a host and transmit.
Get Back on Track
You have the power to protect against vaccine preventable diseases! Talk to your doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider to ensure you and your family are protected against serious disease by getting caught up on routine vaccinations.
Washington Health System has instituted an integrative and interdisciplinary team to run our COVID-19 vaccine clinics, including separate pediatric clinics for our younger patients. It is also the place to go prior to traveling abroad. Talk to your family physician to see if any new vaccines are recommended before travel. If you have any further questions or concerns regarding immunizations, talk to your family doctor for more information. Remember, prevention is key. By getting vaccinated, we eliminate disease before it has a chance to spread.