Throughout our lives we build immunity to disease. There are different ways that your body can build this immunity:
- Natural immunity – you are born with an innate immune system that recognizes foreign cells (viruses, bacteria) and responds by removing the invading cells.
- Acquired immunity – after exposure to invading cells, you create antibodies to protect against future invasion. This helps to prevent reinfection and can grow stronger throughout life as your body is exposed to more pathogens.
- Vaccinations – vaccines (also called immunizations) are another way to build immunity without contracting a specific disease. They either expose your body to very small and harmless cells that resemble invaders, or they train your body to make antibodies that will protect you in case of an invasion later in life.
HOW VACCINES PROTECT YOU FROM DISEASE
Throughout human history people have come up against some serious and harmful diseases. In some cases your body will be able to fight off the disease effectively, but not everyone will be able to do that. Some diseases can lead to lasting physical impairments, such as polio. Others are highly contagious, and even if you are able to fight off the disease you may spread it to someone who is vulnerable and whose immune system is not strong enough to eliminate the disease.
Children are particularly susceptible to disease because their immune systems are relatively young. They are also often in close contact with other children in situations where diseases can spread easily, like on playgrounds or in school classrooms.
Preventing disease with vaccines is more cost-effective and safer than waiting until you get infected and treating the disease at the time. Scientific advances in vaccines have almost completely eradicated some diseases that used to be devastating and deadly, such as:
- Whooping cough
- Hepatitis A and B
Public schools, and many private schools, require that children present proof of vaccination before they are allowed to attend. Students must also produce up-to-date vaccination records to attend many colleges and universities.
We can provide a schedule of when you should get vaccinations for your child to ensure health and prevent disease.
VACCINATIONS FOR ADULTS IN LAS VEGAS
Medical professionals and infectious disease experts also recommend certain vaccines for adults. These can be “booster” shots that help provide added protection from earlier vaccines that you received, or could offer protection against new and novel diseases that primarily impact adults.
Most people are aware of annual flu shots, but there are other vaccines to consider after your childhood vaccines.
Teens and young adults should get:
- Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis)
- HPV (human papillomavirus) for teens ages 11-12, or adults up to age 26 who were not already vaccinated
Adults over 50 should get:
- Shingles vaccine
- Pneumonia vaccine
- Pneumococcal polysaccharide (PPSV23) to protect against meningitis
Adults with certain medical conditions, or women who are pregnant, should consult our family medicine doctors about other recommended vaccines. If you are planning international travel or recently arrived in the U.S. from a foreign country, there may be other vaccines you should get. Talk to our providers today to learn more.
The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is now available to anyone age 18 or older. Contact us today to schedule your first COVID-19 vaccine dose or your booster (second dose).