Immunization in adults

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The most important vaccine to worry about right now is COVID vaccination. Many of us have had two shots and we felt protected.

Now, with the new variant, we find we are not fully protected. We still may get a COVID infection. However, the severity of the illness seems to be less, in those who have gotten the shots. Soon there will be a booster shot available. We do not yet have full directions, but we expect the booster to result in better protection.

What about people who have refused to get the COVID shots? If you are afraid of needles, you may be able to get a friend to go with you, to talk you through the experience. There is hardly any pain at the time of the shot. Afterwards there may be achiness and discomfort for 12 to 24 hours. That simply means the vaccine is doing its job. 

Looking through history, this vaccine is an amazing product. It gives us protection against the virus, and it does no harm. Millions of people all over the world have accepted this vaccine and studies have shown great success. If you have been hesitant to get the COVID shots it is time to get them. They will keep you healthier and also protect your loved ones. 

Are you behind in other immunizations? Once you have the proper number of COVID shots, consider other diseases that should be prevented. Influenza shots are due annually and are available now.

Doctors and pharmacists give the flu shot. Flu, the nickname for influenza, causes a respiratory illness. It is more worrisome in older persons than young people. However, just like COVID, we avoid giving the disease to the elderly by vaccinating everyone. There are no side effects to worry about, in this or any other routine immunization. For several reasons, this shot must be repeated every year to be effective.

The shingles shot is very important if you have not already gotten it. The brand name is Shingrix. Shingles is a painful and lingering illness. It has some serious consequences. There is no question that we all need to get vaccinated against shingles. If you are over 50, you should get 2 shots 2-6 months apart. Your doctor or pharmacist can provide the shots.

Every 10 years you should have a Diphtheria-Tetanus shot. You may also get this shot if you have an injury. Tetanus used to be called Lockjaw and is a serious, but rare, infection.

All of these illnesses are characterized by discomfort and inability to work for a few days or weeks. Also, many of these illnesses are contagious, so that the preventive shots not only keep you healthy, but also those around you will be healthier.

If we all get the recommended injections, there will be fewer sick and dying patients in the hospital. If there are fewer people sick with COVID, we may be able to relax our rules about masks and distancing. We may be able to travel again and meet with friends and relatives. 

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