Vaccines & Immunizations

Vaccines & Immunizations

In most developed countries, we give vaccines to children to help prevent what were once common and serious childhood diseases. Vaccines are developed using either dead strains of a disease, weakened strains, or strains of a different disease that can confer some immunity. As adults we may need a booster of the vaccine we received years ago to remain immunized. Travelers may receive vaccines either as a condition of entry to a country, or on recommendation of health officials. Generally there is little or no reaction to a vaccine, but in some cases the vaccine may cause either a rare allergic reaction or a temporary, mild illness. A few vaccines are not safe for pregnant women, so be certain to let the health care provider know if you are or may be pregnant.

Recently Answered

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    AHealthyWomen answered
    There are a number of different types of vaccines available and how often they are given depends on a variety of factors:
    • Flu vaccine: Annually for everyone six months and older.
    • Hepatitis A: Given in two doses, 6-18 months apart, to children one year of age and to adults at risk or who want protection from hepatitis A.
    • Hepatitis B: Given to children at birth in three doses at birth, one and six months. Also given to children or adults who weren't vaccinated and are at risk for hepatitis B, such as healthcare workers.
    • Human papillomavirus (HPV): Age 11–12 or 13–26 if not previously vaccinated; three doses at 0-, 2- and 6-month intervals; no booster necessary.
    • Pneumonia: Once only at age 65 or older.
    • Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Td/Tdap): Every 10 years.
    • Varicella (chickenpox): Given in two doses at birth, and 4- to 8-week intervals to those 19 or older who have not been vaccinated or had chickenpox.
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    Depending on which vaccinations might be required for your destination, you will need to visit a travel medicine clinic (check with your state or local health department to locate one) anywhere from four to 12 weeks prior to departure. That way, you will have plenty of time to get a physical, take care of any current medical problems, and get any vaccinations needed.
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    AScripps Health answered

    To find a travel medicine clinic, go to cdc.gov. Then go to “traveler’s health” and “find a clinic” for various private and public providers.

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    AScripps Health answered

    Schedule a travel medicine appointment at least four weeks before overseas travel. Take itineraries, immunization records and prescription medications.

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    Important topics to cover with your doctor before traveling oversees are potential infectious diseases, vaccination requirements for certain regions and potential for mosquito-borne illnesses. Additionally, travel can cause complications of existing heart conditions as well as increased risk of blot clot formation.
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    AUCLA Health answered
    According to Zachary Rubin, MD, director of the Santa Monica-UCLA Center for Travel and Tropical Medicine, "People booking a journey to a developing or otherwise exotic locale should plan ahead to make sure they don’t put themselves at risk for infections endemic to that region." Part of the planning involves education on the risks, what to bring and what to avoid. Prospective travelers should consult with their doctors to ensure that their general health is good.

    Says Lynn Stephens, a nurse-practitioner with the Travel Medicine Program at the UCLA Family Health Center in Santa Monica, "One of the most important reasons for planning ahead is to ensure there is time to obtain any necessary vaccinations. Getting the vaccines four to six weeks before travel allows time for them to take effect and for people to get over any side effects they might experience from the vaccines."
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    AUCLA Health answered

    “People living in the U.S. benefit from herd immunity, which makes it unlikely that certain diseases will spread from person to person because most of us are immune,” explains Julia Blank, M.D., a UCLA family medicine specialist. “The problem occurs when a small percentage of unvaccinated people within communities travel abroad to high-risk areas such as Europe, Asia or Africa, become infected and then bring the diseases back to the U.S.”

    Dr. Blank adds that even some people who have received all of their vaccines may be at risk from exposure to unvaccinated disease carriers because most vaccines are not 100 percent effective. The measles vaccine, for example, has a 5 percent failure rate. Additionally, some children may be exposed before they are old enough to receive certain vaccines.

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    AUCLA Health answered

    According to the World Health Organization, at least 2 million people of all ages die every year from vaccine-preventable diseases. Communities with unvaccinated or under-vaccinated people are at greatest risk.

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    Young children need a healthy start, and physical health is a key factor in young children’s proper growth and readiness for school. Immunization is key in this process. Therefore, by the age of two, all children should receive their immunizations.

    The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nor does the contents of this website constitute the establishment of a physician patient or therapeutic relationship. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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    To support the treatment for your heart condition, your healthcare providers may recommend these health maintenance measures:
    • An annual flu shot: Influenza vaccines can help you avoid this year's worst flu.
    • A pneumococcal vaccine: A "pneumovax" can help protect you from pneumonia, meningitis, and other serious infections.
    Studies have shown that both types of vaccines are very safe and very effective.
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