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Why You Should Stay Up to Date on Your Vaccinations


It's really important to stay up to date with your vaccinations as an adult. And if you're a parent, it is also really important to stay up to date with your child's vaccinations as well. Why? Because vaccinations prevent deaths and debilitation from diseases. Staying on a vaccination schedule throughout childhood is essential because it helps provide protection before children are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases. Vaccines are rigorously tested to ensure that they are safe and effective for kids (and adults) to receive at the recommended ages. Vaccinating children at the proper time will prevent outbreaks of diseases like measles, polio, hepatitis B, mumps, and more. In fact, the more people that receive a specific vaccine, the greater potential of developing "herd immunity" in that community, which protects everyone- even vulnerable people who cannot safely receive the vaccine like the highly immunocompromised, the very elderly, or infants not yet eligible for certain vaccines. Most people will have to be vaccinated to enter daycares, school systems, or colleges, as vaccines are a requirement for attendance. Below is a guide for the vaccines a person will need at each stage of life:

Birth- 2 years old

  • Chickenpox (varicella) vaccine at 12 through 15 months

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) vaccine at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 15 through 18 months

  • Flu vaccine every year by the end of October, if possible, starting at 6 months

  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine: At 2 months, 4 months, 6 months (if needed), and 12 through 15 months

  • Hepatitis A vaccine at 12 through 23 months and a second dose 6 months following the first dose

  • Hepatitis B vaccine shortly after birth, at 1 through 2 months, and at 6 through 18 months

  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine at 12 through 15 months; but if traveling abroad, infants 6 through 11 months old should have one dose of MMR vaccine

  • Pneumococcal (PCV13) vaccine at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 12 through 15 months

  • Polio (IPV) vaccine at 2 months, 4 months, and 6 through 18 months

  • Rotavirus (RV) vaccine: At 2 months and 4 months (for Rotarix brand); or 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months (for RotaTeq brand)

3-10 years old

  • Chickenpox (varicella) vaccine at 4 through 6 years

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) vaccine at 4 through 6 years

  • Flu vaccine every year by the end of October, if possible

  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine at 4 through 6 years

  • Polio (IPV) vaccine at 4 through 6 years

11-18 years old

  • Flu vaccine every year by the end of October, if possible

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine at 11 through 12 years and a second dose 6-12 months following the first dose

  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine at 11 through 12 years and at 16 years

  • Serogroup B meningococcal vaccine may be given at 16 through 23 years

  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine: At 11 through 12 years

  • COVID-19 before entering college

18+ years

  • Everyone should get a flu vaccine every year before the end of October, if possible

  • Adults need a Td vaccine every ten years.

  • Healthy adults 50 years and older should get the shingles vaccine.

  • Adults 65 years or older need one dose of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine followed by one dose of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine. Adults younger than 65 years who have certain health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or HIV should also get one or both of these vaccines, too.

  • Adults may need other vaccines based on their health conditions, jobs, lifestyles, or travel habits. You can find a great vaccination assessment tool on the CDC's website by clicking here.

If your child goes off of their vaccine schedule, it's important to call your family care provider or your child's pediatrician to get them caught back up. Your provider will be able to help you catch up and ensure that you stay on course for all future vaccines. If you need to catch up with any of your adult vaccines, you can do so by making an appointment at any of our MCB Family Care Clinics! We have locations in Eufaula, Hurtsboro, and Louisville and are always accepting new patients! Learn more about what our MCB Family Care Clinics have to offer by clicking here.

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