Are You Up to Date On Your Immunizations?

Mar 01, 2024
Are You Up to Date On Your Immunizations?
Immunizations are an important preventive health measure that keeps you and your family safe from disease and illness. Take some time to review the most common immunizations to make sure you’re up to date.

Vaccinations, also called immunizations, help prevent the spread of many different diseases and illnesses. This important preventive health measure is most effective when received at the right time. 

At Rural Health Corporation of Northeastern Pennsylvania, our providers offer a full scope of immunizations to help protect you and your family. With centers in Nuremberg, Freeland, Falls, Hazleton, LaPorte, Wilkes Barre, Noxen, Shickshinny, and Edwardsville, Pennsylvania, we’ve got you covered. 

Take a moment to learn more about the important immunizations you and your family should have to protect you.

Why vaccines are necessary 

Routine vaccinations for children and adults are essential to protect our families and communities from serious contagious illnesses. Many of our modern vaccines were developed years ago to stop the spread and consequences of life-threatening infectious diseases. 

There’s also many newer vaccines, such as the vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV), influenza, and COVID-19. These prevent cancer-causing infections and can help stop the spread of global viruses. 

Without regular vaccinations, we could experience a resurgence of diseases we previously had under control, like the measles. Only one in five adults in the United States are up to date on their vaccines, which can be troubling for preventing the spread of disease.

The immunizations you and your family need

At Rural Health Corporation of Northeastern Pennsylvania, our providers work diligently to make sure your entire family is up to date on immunizations. Your provider reviews your medical history to ensure you get your vaccines on schedule. 

If you don’t have access to your immunization history, your provider may recommend a blood test. This can determine which vaccines you need, helping you stay up to date.

Childhood immunizations

Many vaccines are given during childhood, beginning shortly after birth. Children continue to receive new vaccines and booster shots as they get older. 

Common childhood vaccines your child should receive include:

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Chickenpox
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Influenza
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella
  • Polio
  • Rotavirus
  • Meningococcal
  • Pneumococcal

Given that children receive multiple immunizations with various timings, it can be helpful to take a look at the recommended schedule from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for a visual. 

If you plan to travel outside of the U.S., you and your family members may need additional vaccines. Your provider helps you understand which vaccines you might need based on where you’re going.

Immunizations throughout adulthood

Many important adult vaccinations serve as lifelong preventative measures against dangerous illnesses and diseases. Some of the most common include:

  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (every 10 years)
  • Meningococcal (sometimes for adults under 65; once for adults over 65)
  • Shingles (once for adults over 60)
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella (varies)
  • Hepatitis A and B (varies)
  • Pneumococcal (varies)

Your vaccination schedule might be different from these guidelines, depending on your individual needs and your immunization history.

The flu and COVID-19 vaccines

You may wonder about these vaccines, which protect against viruses. These two vaccinations work slightly differently than other vaccines you receive because you need to get boosted more frequently. Here’s a closer look: 

About the flu shot

The flu shot is recommended yearly for everyone aged six months and older, as it helps keep you from getting sick with seasonal influenza, and makes symptoms less severe if you do. 

Influenza strains change every year, so last year’s flu shot won’t protect you this year. The best time to get your flu shot is in the fall, since it takes about two weeks from the time you get your shot for your body to make enough protective antibodies. 

However, it’s never too late to get the flu shot and get protected against this year’s strain: If you forget to get your flu shot this past fall, you can still get it in the winter or early spring. 

About the COVID-19 vaccine

Most modern vaccinations often use small amounts of the disease’s antigen to train your immune system to develop antibodies if you’re exposed to the disease in the future. 

The most effective COVID-19 vaccines — made by Pfizer and Moderna — don’t work this way. Instead of using the live coronavirus or antigens, they use messenger RNA (mRNA), or small pieces of the virus’s unique protein spike. 

The mRNA trains your immune system to identify and attack the virus if you contract it, stopping you from getting sick or minimizing the impact of the disease on your health. 

Ready to update your immunizations?

If you want to learn more about immunizations or make sure you’re up to date on yours, contact us at your nearest Rural Health Corporation of Northeastern Pennsylvania location. 

We work with most major health insurance plans, and if you don’t have insurance we offer a sliding fee schedule. If getting here for a visit is holding you back from making an appointment, ask us about our free door-to-door transportation services.