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This is National Immunization Month

By Billie Owens

Press release:

The Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County health departments are encouraging residents to “Choose Health” -- taking small steps in our day-to-day living and making positive health choices will lead to healthier outcomes.  Learning something new every day is one of those small steps…

August is National Immunization Awareness Month. If you think you outgrew the need for vaccines when you graduated high school and/or moved out of your parents’ house -- think again. Every year, thousands of adults in the United States suffer serious health problems, are hospitalized, or even die from diseases that could have been prevented by vaccinations.

Most people do not realize that adults need immunizations, too. While many know that a flu vaccine is recommended every year, few adults are aware of the need for other vaccines to help protect their health.

Protection from some childhood immunizations wears off over time, leaving you at risk to disease. For example, there has been a rise in cases of whooping cough (pertussis) in the last few years with more than 41,000 cases being reported in 2012. We have learned that protection from DTaP whooping cough vaccine given to children doesn’t last into adulthood, so all adults are now recommended to get one dose of Tdap whooping cough vaccine.

Adults may be recommended for certain vaccines due to their age, job, hobbies, travel, or health condition. Other vaccines may be recommended if they didn’t get certain vaccines as children.

Check your immunization records to be sure you have had the HPV vaccine, measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, and varicella (chicken pox) vaccine and are up to date on them, as some vaccines are administered less often than others.

Vaccines not only help protect you from disease, but they also help prevent you from spreading diseases to those who are most at risk of complications -- infants, older adults and those that have chronic health conditions, including asthma and diabetes.

For example, because older age increases the chance of getting shingles, CDC recommends that adults get the shingles vaccine once they turn 60 years old. People with diabetes, heart disease, COPD or asthma, even if well managed, are more likely than those without these conditions to have complications from the flu. To prevent possible difficulties like pneumonia, people with these chronic conditions should get the pneumonia vaccine along with their yearly flu vaccine.

Check with your doctor, local pharmacy, school health center, workplace, community health center or local health department for more information about vaccines and what is best for you.

For information about health department services:

  • The Genesee County Health Department currently has FREE DTap and Tdap vaccine, simply call to learn if you are eligible! Contact us at 344-2580, ext. 5000, or visit our Web site at  Find us on Facebook at Genesee County Health Department and Twitter @GeneseeCoHealthDept.
  • Orleans County Health Department call: 589-3278 or check out our Web site at: Visit Facebook and Twitter: the user name for both is OrleansCoHealth. 
  • Wyoming County Health Department call: 786-8890 or visit their Web site at

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