Fall is On The Way: Time to Review Immunization Needs for Your Children, Yourself and Family Members

This is the time of year when many of us, even those of us whose children aren't yet in school, or who have long graduated, start making plans for September and beyond. This is a great time to get your calendar out, grab your phone and sit down in a pleasant spot and schedule doctor and dentist appointments and making sure that your family is caught up on all recommended immunizations. (And no one will know if you've got a cocktail in one hand while you make the calls. If you use speaker phone, you could even have an ice cream in that other hand.)

The MTC is unabashedly pro-immunization for all individuals who don't have a medical reason to opt-out. Unfortunately because currently many ARE opting out of vaccinations, risks are raised for the entire community, for those who can't get vaccinated or who miss a booster shot. 

The latest schedule of recommend immunizations for children and teens from the CDC includes information about special situations, including catch-up vaccinations (if a shot in a series was missed, or there is a later start) and special health circumstances.

It also has a list of the common vaccine abbreviations and trade names, which can be handy when you are trying to decipher what vaccines have been previously given.

And don't overlook checking to be sure that you are current on vaccines, and that other adult family members are as well. There is new vaccine for shingles - highly recommended EVEN if you have already received the older vaccine if you are over 50. For those of us with infants or in contact with the elderly or medically fragile individuals, you might want to consider also getting the two pneumococcal vaccines.

Really feeling the back to school vibe? Want to take a quiz? The CDC has quizzes that can give you a personalized recommended vaccine list!

Some tips:

  • Not all doctors have all vaccines in stock. When you make your appointment, state that you wish to discuss vaccinations, and, if possible, get vaccinated. You can print out or save the PDF of the pocket guide to use as a tool during your appointment.
  • Depending on your insurance coverage, you can choose to get vaccine recommendations from your doctor, but actually GET the shots more cheaply, or quickly if your doctor is out of stock, at Costco or a chain drug store. 
  • If you plan on traveling out of your home region this year, do bring this up at the appointment. There might be recommendations for vaccines, or other advice that your doctor can offer.
  • It is good to get vaccines when you and your family are the MOST healthy -- any potential reaction can be minimized. A reward to those who get vaccinated before flu season!