No one immune from vaccines

Immunizations important no matter your age, says specialist

By Brian Trahan
news@americanpress.com

Immunizations don’t stop once you leave school, according to Christa O’Neal, immunization specialist with West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital. In fact, the need for them never stops.

“You continue to need immunizations, from school to teens to young adults and into your senior years,” O’Neal said.

“Flu vaccine is recommended every year. The thing is, the vaccine changes from year to year,” O’Neal said. “Some times they get it right … some times they don’t. Flu mutates a lot, so here lately, the vaccines haven’t been as effective as we would like them to be.”

Companies who manufacture and distribute flu vaccines will research exactly what strains are reoccurring worldwide and design the vaccine based on this information prior to the strains hitting the United States.

One of the most prevalent maladies for those in the increasing senior age group is shingles. The Shingrix vaccine is relatively new on the market, but is different from previous shingles vaccines — such as Zoster — which were live virus vaccines. Shingrix is not, according to O’Neal.

Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have concluded that Shingrix is effective enough to recommend this particular brand of vaccine to guard against shingles outbreaks.

Shingles is a viral infection that causes a very painful rash. According to The Mayo Clinic, shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you’ve had chickenpox, the virus lies inactive in nerve tissue near your spinal cord and brain. Years or decades later, the virus may reactivate as shingles. The Shingrix vaccine can help reduce the risk.

O’Neal said it’s recommended that if you’ve been vaccinated with Zoster that you also receive the more effective Shingrix immunization. The shingles vaccine is suggested for those age 50 and above.

For senior age group, there is another vaccine available to make life easier. According to the CDC, there are over 90 strains of Pneumococcal disease, which can cause pneumonia, meningitis and blood stream infections — especially in the elderly.

“It’s recommended if you are 65 years or older that you get the two pneumonia vaccines,” O’Neal said. “One vaccinates against 13 strains of the disease and the other protects against 23 strains. However, if you are younger than 65 but you suffer from health-related issues, it is recommended you also receive the pneumonia vaccine.”

As a reminder, O’Neal suggested that adults also receive a Tdap vaccine if they’ve never had one. Tdap is a combination vaccine that protects against three potentially life-threatening bacterial diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). This is in addition to receiving a regular tetanus shot once every 10 years until death. If you’re a new grandparent or giving care to a child as an older adult, you should receive the Tdap booster at least once while addressing a tetanus vaccine.

O’Neal suggests that prior to receiving vaccines check with Medicare or health insurance companies as to what vaccines they cover and when. “As an example there are certain vaccines that take more than one dose and it’s designed to be given within a time frame. I know that Medicare is very stringent on sticking to that time frame.”

As another example, the newer vaccines such as the Zoster, are subjected to guidelines by health care coverage.

‘You continue to need immunizations from school to teens to young adults and into your senior years.’

Christa O’Neal

West Calcasieu Cameron

Hospital immunization specialist

””

Shingles outbreak on the chest.

By Preston Hunt (me@prestonhunt.com) – Own work, CC BY 3.0, Link

Local News

Pair has passion for civic engagement

Local News

Nonprofit director to retire: Hickman has worked for BArc for 39 years

Local News

Christian Youth Theater opens season with ‘Adam’s Family’

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Let health experts call shots

high-school Football

Jennings High comes to aid of former foe

Local News

Victims of Ida get glimpse of journey ahead

Local News

Support workers not pleased with supplemental pay plan in Jeff Davis

Local News

Only a fraction of funding reimbursed to Cameron by FEMA

Local News

15 child deaths attributed to COVID in La.

Local News

School Board extends COVID-related sick leave policy

Local News

Kind Vibes Only: CPSO hosts one-mile anti-bullying walk

Local News

Sowela rolls out fifth annual Flying Tigers Car Show

Local News

Parents urge Jeff Davis School Board to oppose any vaccine mandate

Local News

City hiring two agencies to help with disaster recovery financial advocacy

Crime

Man arrested in Monday shooting near McNeese campus

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:State’s election system secure

Local News

Transfer of Mallard Cove Golf Course to Chennault complete

Local News

Maplewood schools will remain closed Thursday

Local News

Kinder Future Farmers of America collect, deliver fuel to Lafourche Parish

Local Business News

Disaster assistance request for SW La. makes it to budget

Local Business News

Area LyondellBasell plant receives ISCC PLUS certification

Local Business News

When it comes to headwear, Anne Monlezun and Kevin Mattingly have got you covered

Local Business News

Elizabeth Jimney column: Building a website that works for you

Local Business News

Names in the News: People shaping the future of Lake Area business