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 specialistShingles outbreak on the chest.

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

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Jones brought political calm

Local News

Ian makes landfall in Southwest Fla. as a Category 4 hurricane

Local News

McNeese ranks among top universities in South

life

PHOTO GALLERY: Real Men Wear Pink

life

Two Sowela culinary arts students have big plans for future

Local News

Multiple LC College Prep teachers no-shows in classroom

Local News

Calcasieu School Board candidates make their pitches

Local News

VIDEO: Civil rights law targets ‘cancer alley’ discrimination

Crime

Driver sought in Moss Bluff hit-and-run

Crime

Lawsuit: Furniture company subjected Black manager-in-training to hostile work environment

Local News

VIDEO: Tampa residents prepare for Hurricane Ian

Crime

9/27: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

Hurricane Ian expected to make landfall near Tampa Wednesday night or Thursday morning

life

Peer-support PILOT program driven by students

Business

Abby McMurry Ferguson owns, operates Sulphur store founded in 1917 by her great-grandmother

Crime

Westlake firefighters protect life, property

Crime

Conviction in two-year-old double murder stands

Local News

Night show, fly-in, Thunderbirds among features announced for next year’s airshow

Crime

9/25: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

life

La. tourism float to roll in Beauregard Parish Fair Parade

life

SW La. school lunch menus Sept. 26-30

Local News

Ian expected to turn into hurricane on Tuesday

Local News

PHOTO GALLERY: McNeese tailgating festivities

Informer

McNeese, LSU ushered in new era of spending with coaching picks