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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

CMO Message - Immunizations

Vaccines are something that most adults don’t think about - that is until COVID-19 hit. While living through a global pandemic is a new and immensely challenging experience for us, it’s important to remember that the process of developing vaccines to fight pathogens is not new at all. This process has been repeated over and over in modern medicine for the last 200 years.

From the time we are born through adulthood, vaccination against debilitating diseases is one of the most critical components of preventive healthcare. In childhood, we receive vaccines that protect us from life-threatening illnesses such as hepatitis, infectious diarrhea, tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, meningitis, and cervical cancer. In adulthood, vaccines continue to be administered to prevent conditions such as influenza, shingles, and pneumococcal pneumonia.

The benefits of vaccines have shaped our everyday lives. Each year, immunization saves 4-5 million lives and is one of the major reasons that our life expectancy has increased by roughly 3 decades over the last century. Vaccination is such a powerful public health tool that it led to the worldwide elimination of smallpox by 1980. More recently up until the 1990s, enduring the itchy blisters and scars from chicken pox was a rite of passage for most children. Since the chicken pox vaccine became available in 1995, 3.5 million cases and 9,000 hospitalizations from chicken pox are prevented each year. When we visited foriegn countries where there were diseases such as typhoid and yellow fever that our immune systems weren’t familiar with, travel vaccinations protected us so that we could enjoy our time abroad without getting sick.

While vaccines are typically thought to protect the person getting the shot, they serve an even greater purpose during the pandemic. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 doesn’t just protect you - it also protects your families, friends, workplaces, and communities. Minimizing your chances of getting infected by the virus also minimizes the chances that you’ll get sick and spread it to others. Further, with every person who becomes fully vaccinated, that means there is less opportunity for the virus to replicate and mutate into even deadlier variants.

If you already received your COVID-19 vaccine, we at UnitedAg thank you for taking care of your health and the health of those around you. If you haven’t received your vaccine yet, please call our Health & Wellness Centers at 877.877.7981 today to make an appointment. The decision to get vaccinated now can save not only your own life but also the lives of your loved ones.


Author(s)

  • Rosemary Ku, MD/MBA/MPA