Most people think of immunizations as “baby shots” or “school shots." Although this is a substantial part of the population who get immunizations, everyone at one time or another, needs an immunization or two.
Immunizations (sometimes called vaccinations or vaccines) stimulate the human body to produce antibodies against specific diseases, thus we protect ourselves from disease.
During the twentieth century, many diseases have been conquered by means of prevention through vaccination. Such things as tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, and haemophylis influenza type b (Hib) meningitis, are almost unheard of today.
Congenital rubella syndrome (babies born with birth defects due to rubella or “German measles”), brain damage secondary to measles infection, and infertility due to mumps are virtually unheard of today.
Hepatitis A and B are on the way to being curbed.
There has been no reported wild polio in the USA since 1979, and, since 1994, no longer a threat to us in the Western Hemisphere.
Global efforts are being made to eradicate polio from the world.
Chickenpox, long thought of as a necessary and harmless childhood disease, is not! This potentially serious, costly illness is now also vaccine preventable.
New discoveries against other types of meningitis, (meningococcal and pneumococcal) are also available as a vaccine.
There is now a vaccine for Rotavirus.
Each year because of aggressive, pro-active efforts by the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness' Community Flu Program, citizen protection against influenza and certain forms of pneumonia increases.
Although rarely needed, the LMPHW administers anti-rabies protection following certain animal bites.
The successes of the past 100 years can only be maintained through continued vigilance of the Department and education of the public.
Because State laws set requirements for childhood and school immunizations, this population group generally receives most of their immunizations. The LMPHW Division of Vaccines & Immunizations perform yearly surveys and on site audits of daycare centers and schools. The results of these audits help to shape the direction of the Division for future immunization needs of the Community.
Adults are the ‘forgotten’ when it comes to maintaining adequate immunity against disease. Adults can experience serious, sometimes fatal, complications from vaccine preventable illnesses that are still with us: Tetanus, Pertussis, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, influenza, pneumonia, measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox. So it is important as adults that our own health is kept as good as it can by keeping our own immunizations up to date.
For information on Vaccines & Immunizations please call your local health clinic or the Division of Vaccines & Immunizations office at 574-5380.