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

SportsPlus

Crime

7/2: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Business

UPDATE: Shelter in place lifted, interstate reopening

Business News

UPDATE: I-10 being shut down due to BioLab fire

Crime

Louisiana State Police Crime Lab launches Sexual Assault Kit Tracking Program

Business

BREAKING: BioLab warehouse fire leads to shelter in place

life

PHOTO GALLERY: Freedom Fest celebration

Local News

Better Business Bureau: Have a plan in place for potential hurricanes

Business

US Federal Judge James Cain Jr. strikes down Biden administration pause on new LNG exports

Business

Landry steps up fight on behalf of DENKA plant in dispute with EPA

Local News

New era at McNeese as Rousse takes the reins as president

Local News

Heat advisory in place in SW La.

Local News

Higgins, Carter introduce legislation to combat contaminated foreign seafood

Crime

Former Elton mayor pleads not guilty to battery charge

Crime

7/1: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

McNeese Sports

Southland welcomes two new members

Local News

Supreme Court rules ex-presidents have broad immunity, dimming chance of a pre-election Trump trial

Business

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

life

On Campus: SW La. students recognized for achievements

Local News

How will Louisiana’s new Ten Commandments classroom requirement be funded and enforced?

Local News

Biden meets with his family amid pressures to step down after debate

Local News

Donation celebrated by Second Harvest, but volunteers are still needed

Local News

Grand Avenue Gym: DeQuincy landmark fading fast, group fighting to save it says

Local News

Beryl becomes major hurricane forecast to bring life-threatening conditions to Caribbean

life

Fourth of July festivities in Jennings will kick off with Stars and Stripes Festival