National Immunization Awareness Month

We all need immunizations (also called vaccines or shots) to help protect us from serious diseases. To help keep our community safe, CareOregon is proudly participating in National Immunization Awareness Month. Everyone 6 months and older needs a flu vaccine every fall. Other shots work best when given at certain ages.

Childhood immunizations are extremely important. Measles and pertussis epidemics (whooping cough) have recently made the news. These infections are potentially fatal for unimmunized children.

Young children

  • Children under 6 years get a series of shots to protect against measles, polio, chicken pox and hepatitis.

Preteens

  • All 11- and 12-year-olds need shots to help protect against tetanus, diphtheria, whooping coughd and meningitis.
  • Parents or Caregivers of girls may want to talk to their Primary Care Provider (PCP) about getting the HPV vaccine to protect against the most common cause of cervical cancer.

Adults

  • All adults need tetanus shot every 10 years.
  • 65-year-olds need a one-time pneumonia shot.

Ask your primary care provider (PCP) a which shots you and your family need.

Pertussis (whooping cough): What you need to know

Pertussis (whooping cough) is very contagious and can cause serious illness, especially in infants too young to be fully vaccinated. It is a respiratory disease caused by bacteria. Pertussis can occur at any age. Whooping cough spreads easily by coughing and sneezing; therefore, getting a vaccination is your best protection. Pertussis vaccines are recommended for children, teens and adults, including pregnant women.

In 2012, Oregon experienced a pertussis epidemic with the most-recent cases seen since the 1950s. In 2012, more than 900 cases of pertussis were reported in Oregon, compared with about 300 cases in 2011. In April 2015, Clark County, Wash. issued a health advisory warning due to the significant increase in reported whooping cough illnesses.

About the vaccine

Whooping cough vaccines are recommended for all kids and adults. Kids under 7 years should get a series of five DTaP vaccines. Kids 7 to 10 years who aren’t fully vaccinated against whooping cough, and everyone 11 years and older, should get Tdap, a whooping cough booster.

Vaccine Safety

Because vaccines must be safe for as many people as possible, vaccines are developed with the highest standards of safety. By law, years of testing are required before a vaccine is licensed and distributed. Once in use, vaccines are continually monitored for safety and effectiveness. The United States currently has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in history.

Other Resources

Protect Yourself from Season Flu (CDC link)
Adolescent and Adult Vaccine Quiz. “What Vaccines do You need?
School Immunization Information For Parents (Oregon Health Authority. Public Health Division)
Pertussis (Oregon Health Authority. Public Health Division)

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