Taking Action: Immunizations are for everyone, not just children

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — August is Immunization Awareness month, just in time for back-to-school vaccinations for students. Although, we often forget children aren’t the only ones who need to keep up with vaccinations.

Depending on your age, career and how often you travel, staying up to date on vaccinations is very important.

“The most common one people tend to overlook is a Tetanus shot, which you need about every 10 years,” said Dr. Scott Harris with the Alabama Department of Public Health. “Tetanus is a disease that’s almost completely preventable and yet people sometimes go decades and never think about getting one unless they get an injury and have to get stitches or something like that.”

Health professionals, childcare workers and those who work with animals are people Dr. Harris said should especially stay current with their vaccinations.

And if you’re planning a vacation- that means you, too.

“If you’re traveling, particularly out of the country, you may need a lot of different shots depending on where you’re going to go,” Dr. Harris said.

Dr. Harris said many of the shots you got as a child will give life-time protection, but there’s one in particular that impacts several hundred thousand people a year and is recommended for re-vaccination every year.

“There are many different strains of the flu vaccine and they change every season, change every year and so the vaccine that works this year may not work next year,” Harris explained. If you’re offered the flu shot early around September or October, Dr. Harris said to take advantage of it before you run the risk of being caught by the flu.